Duration and warning work independently to reduce false memories in DRM and homograph lists
Lambert, Ann Elise
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Two experiments examined the effects of forewarning and presentation duration on false memory. Durations of 1000 ms and 3000 ms were used to present words in DRM lists containing 12 words which converged onto the same meaning of a critical nonpresented word and homograph lists containing 6 words that converged onto a different meaning of a critical nonpresented word. Associative strength from list items to critical items was equated across list types. In Experiment 1 participants were warned of the tendency of the lists to bring to mind a nonpresented critical word and were instructed to write down their guess as to the identity of that word following presentation of each list. Participants identified DRM critical words more frequently than homograph critical words. In Experiment 2 half of the participants were warned of the tendency of the lists to bring to mind a nonpresented critical word, and half were not. Following the presentation of each list all participants were instructed to recall the words for the lists.Veridical and false recall was examined. Recall of list items was greater than recall of critical items. As presentation duration increased, false memory decreased and veridical memory increased. Overall, recall was greater without a warning than with a warning, and the effects of forewarning and presentation duration were additive. False recall was greater for homograph lists than for DRM lists at short durations and under unwarned conditions. Also, warning significantly reduced false recall for homograph lists only despite the fact that Experiment 1 demonstrated DRM critical items to be easier to identify. These results suggest that separate processes drive false memory attenuation for increased presentation duration and forewarning, and that warning does not reduce false memory via critical word identification and exclusion. The effects of warning and duration are discussed in terms of a criterion shift strategy for warning an activation monitoring strategy for presentation duration.