Motivated False Memory

89 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2012 Last revised: 15 Jun 2018

See all articles by Soo Hong Chew

Soo Hong Chew

National University of Singapore; National University of Singapore; HKUST

Wei Huang

CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Xiaojian Zhao

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen

Date Written: June 5, 2018

Abstract

People often forget and sometimes fantasize. This paper reports a large-scale experiment on memory errors and their relation to preferential traits including time preference, attitudes toward risk and ambiguity, and psychological traits including anticipatory feelings. We observe systematic incidences of false memory in favor of positive events and selective amnesia in forgetting negative events. Intriguingly, both positive delusion and positive confabulation significantly relate to present bias, but this is not the case for positive amnesia. In an intra-person, multiple-self model, we demonstrate that positive false memory, rather than selective amnesia, serves to enhance confidence in one's future self in equilibrium, thereby accounting for our empirical findings.

Keywords: false memory, amnesia, delusion, confabulation, present bias, anticipatory utility

JEL Classification: C91, D03, D83, Z13

Suggested Citation

Chew, Soo Hong and Huang, Wei and Zhao, Xiaojian, Motivated False Memory (June 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2127795 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2127795

Soo Hong Chew

National University of Singapore ( email )

1 Arts Link, AS2 #06-02
Singapore 117570, Singapore 119077
Singapore

National University of Singapore ( email )

Mochtar Riady Building
15 Kent Ridge Drive
Singapore, 119245
Singapore

HKUST ( email )

Clear Water Bay
Kowloon, Hong Kong
China

Wei Huang

CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong ( email )

Cheng Yu Tung Building
12 Chak Cheung Street
Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong

Xiaojian Zhao (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen ( email )

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