The influence of semantic context on false memories
Ball, Brett Hunter
MetadataShow full item record
Although false memories have largely been examined with the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm, little research has focused on the semantic context in which associates are encoded. Across three experiments, we varied semantic context during a sentential processing task with DRM associates embedded within sentences. More meaningful sentences resulted in greater memory errors (Experiment 1). Furthermore, providing contextual information to discriminate old from new items did not reduce false alarms relative to encoding words in isolation when sentences converged on the meaning of the critical lure (Experiment 2A), and actually increased memory errors (Experiment 3). We provide evidence for lure activation at encoding (Experiment 2B) and suggest an important role of reactivation during retrieval. These results suggest that semantic context that allows for meaningful organization of items within-lists (internal convergence) and the ability for individual items to form associative connections to the critical lure (external convergence) increases false memories.