‘Give me a reason to make it my own’: The Further Effects of Confabulation on Self-knowledge
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In recent years, research started investigations on the downstream consequences of unconsciously activated behavior. The present study builds on the work on the explanatory vacuum and misattribution of behavior (i.e., confabulation) caused by nonconscious processes and extends the work on confabulation by investigating the further consequences on one’s self-knowledge. It was hypothesized that receiving negative false feedback on previously performed behavior would lead, because of the need to explain the behavior, to adopting a confabulated reason for the behavior. Secondly, it was hypothesized that the adopted confabulation reason would be integrated into one’s self-concept. Participants had to do a task on the computer and subsequently received false feedback on their performance. Confabulation was measured by the degree in which participants used the confabulation opportunity, given through a scientific article, by completing a Feedback Questionnaire. To measure self-knowledge, participants had to fill out the Cognitive Performance Questionnaire about sensitivities on their general cognitive performance. Results provided evidence for the first hypothesis, but not for the second hypothesis. The present study used a more stringent test to trigger confabulation than previous studies and thus strengthens the theoretical underpinnings of the influence of unconscious behavior on confabulation. Future studies should focus on the shortcomings of the current study by investigating the further consequences of confabulation to prevent faulty self-knowledge.