Association of trait mindfulness with the false recognition of emotional words in bilinguals

 2019 IJRSP – Volume 8 Issue 2


Yeh, Li-Hao*
Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan (

Lu, Angela Yi-Chun
Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan (


Mindfulness increases the true memory of emotionally positive stimuli and reduces the negative ones, and enhances false memory. Additionally, few researches have observed a higher false memory of negative critical lures (CLs) compared with positive CLs (i.e., the valence effect). As a consequence, this study examines whether and how trait mindfulness associates with the false memory of emotional words based on their valence values. Chinese–English bilinguals completed the Mindfulness Awareness Attention Scale (MAAS) and participated in a Deese–Roediger–McDermott (DRM) word recognition task in first (L1) as well as second (L2) and cross-language conditions to examine whether the similar effect would be hold in the language that is less emotionally charged. In the Chinese (L1) context, although valence effect did not emerge, trait mindfulness was associated with false recognition of positive, but not with negative CLs. These results suggested that people with high trait mindfulness, through the greater awareness to the positive experience, increased the weight of gist trace in the memory process and, therefore, generate more positive false recognition. Furthermore, this memory bias could be one of the reasons that trait mindfulness associates to less depression and stress and higher well-being. On the contrary, the valence effect emerged, but was not related with trait mindfulness in the English (L2) condition. These unexpected results in the L2 condition are explained by the decoupling of valence and arousal for unbalanced bilinguals, and neutralization of trait mindfulness mainly acted on arousal but not on the valence aspects of emotion.

Keywords: mindfulness; false memory; emotion; bilingualism; DRM



*Corresponding Author