Lateral eye movements increase false memory rates


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a popular treatment for PTSD. However, little is known about the memory effects of EMDR. Using a misinformation paradigm, we examined whether lateral eye movements, as used in EMDR, enhance susceptibility to false memories. Undergraduates (N = 82) saw a video depicting a car crash. Subsequently, participants either performed eye movements or held their eyes stationary. Afterwards, all participants received misinformation in the form of an eyewitness narrative. The results indicate that eye movement participants were less accurate, and were more susceptible to the misinformation effect than controls. Our finding suggests EMDR may have risky drawbacks in an eyewitness context and therefore urgently needs follow-up research.






Sanne T. L. Houben
Henry Otgaar
Jeffrey Roelofs
Harald Merckelbach

Original Work Citation

Houben, S. T. L., Otgaar, H., Roelofs, J., & Merckelbach, H. (2018, January). Lateral eye movements increase false memory rates. Clinical Psychological Science



“Lateral eye movements increase false memory rates,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020,

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