False memories and fuzzy-trace theory: Misinforming gist versus verbatim memory
AdvisorReyna, Valerie F.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMost misinformation studies have tested memory for altered details of an event (e.g., stop sign, wrench, swing set). This study varied the type of misleading information to include consistent gist, inconsistent gist and consistent details as well as inconsistent (or altered) details. Misinformation studies follow a three-stage procedure: an initial event, misleading information, and a final memory test. Here, too, adult participants initially observed a slide sequence. Misinformation was embedded in a comprehension test and memory was tested with a recognition test. The timing of the misleading information and the timing of the final memory test resulted in three between-subjects levels: Immediate misinformation and Immediate recognition test, Immediate misinformation and Delayed recognition test, Delayed misinformation and Delayed recognition test. The delay was one week after the initial slide observation. The final recognition test queried memory for what subjects saw (a Yes-No "verbatim" task) and what they believed to be true (a True-False gist-based judgment). All subjects judged misleading items (lures) and original items for each kind of misleading information. Subjects also rated confidence for each answer. Descriptions and examples of all stimuli are provided in the Appendices. An analysis of variance conducted on the signed confidence data (judgment combined with confidence) revealed significant differences among the types of misleading information (gist consistent had highest rates of recognition, inconsistent items were rejected but less so when subjects were misled), differences between Yes-No "verbatim" and True-False judgments (truth ratings were greater than the verbatim ratings but were equally high for consistent gist), different effects of forgetting (decreased recognition of originals, increased recognition of lures), and significant misinformation effects. Memory dependency analyses revealed that the relationship between memory for an event and memory for misleading information depends on the type of information, whether gist or detail in nature. Results are discussed in terms of storage explanations (e.g., discrepancy detection, misinformation acceptance), retrieval accounts (e.g., coexistence, blocking, discrimination) and fuzzy-trace theory. The conclusions support, in general, predictions from fuzzy-trace theory. Implications for eyewitness testimony include the importance of early, neutral questioning.
Degree ProgramGraduate College