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Dawn McBride

Mentor Department



This study aimed to compare false memories in short and long-term tests for semantic and phonological lists. The purpose of this study was to replicate our previous results with shorter lists in the short-term memory condition. Both the past and current study used 36 DeeseRoediger-McDermott (DRM, Roediger & McDermott, 1995) lists for the creation of simple false memories. The lists varied in their association to a nonstudied critical lure item: There were 18 semantic and 18 phonological lists. The first study used 6-item DRM lists, whereas the current study used 4-item DRM lists to ensure list length did not exceed working memory capacity. Both studies included recognition tests at short (less than 1 second delay) and long (after all lists had been presented) delays. In the short-term condition, lists were presented one at a time followed by an immediate one-item recognition test. In the LTM condition, after all lists were presented, there was a 1-minute break before a recognition test that tested all lists. The current study replicated the results of the first study, with almost identical mean proportions of false alarms. Results showed a dissociation in false alarm rates, such that in short-term tests there were more false alarms in phonological than sematic lists, whereas in long-term tests there were more false alarms for semantic than phonological lists. Successfully replicating the findings of the previous 6-item study, with the current 4-item study suggests that the results were not due to exceeding working memory capacity. At the short-term, phonological coding appears to drive errors and increases false alarms for phonological lists compared to semantic lists. After a delay the effect reverses, and semantically driven errors increase. Overall, the results suggest distinct processes are involved in the production of false memories in STM compared to LTM.


Authors: Elizabeth Marsh, Dawn McBride, and Jen Coane

Phonological And Semantic False Memories Across Memory Systems