In 2 studies we examined whether trait dissociation is related to spontaneous commission errors (reports of events that did not occur) in free recall of emotional events. We also explored whether the functional locus of the dissociation-commission link is related to repeated retrieval or shallow encoding. In Experiment 1 participants were exposed to a staged incident and were repeatedly asked to add more information to their written accounts of the event. Dissociation levels were related to commission errors, indicating that people who report many dissociative experiences tend to make more commission errors. However, it was not the case that the overall increase in commission errors over successive retrieval attempts was typical for high dissociative participants. In Experiment 2 participants saw a video fragment of a severe car accident. During the video, half the participants performed a dual task, and the other half did not. Participants performing the dual task made more commission errors than controls, but this effect was not more pronounced in those with high trait dissociation scores. These studies show that there is a link between dissociation and spontaneous commission errors in memory reports of emotional events, but the functional locus of this link remains unclear.

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