Susceptibility to False Memory

Individual Differences in Susceptibility to False Memory in the DeeseRoedigerMcDermott Paradigm
Jason M. Watson Washington University in St. Louis
Michael F. Bunting University of Missouri at Columbia
Bradley J. Poole University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Andrew R. A. Conway University of IllinoisChicago
The authors addressed whether individual differences in the working memory capacity (WMC) of young adults influence susceptibility to false memories for nonpresented critical words in the DeeseRoediger McDermott associative list paradigm. The results of 2 experiments indicated that individuals with greater WMC recalled fewer critical words than individuals with reduced WMC when participants were forewarned about the tendency of associative lists (e.g., bed, rest, . . .) to elicit illusory memories for critical words (e.g., sleep). In contrast, both high and low WMC participants used repeated studytest trials to reduce recall of critical words. These findings suggest that individual differences in WMC influence cognitive control and the ability to actively maintain task goals in the face of interfering information or habit.
There has been considerable recent interest in the nature of falsely remembered information that was never directly presented to an individual. This interest has been nurtured in part by Roe- diger and McDermott (1995), who adapted an experimental tech- nique originally developed by Deese (1959), hereafter referred to as the DeeseRoedigerMcDermott (DRM) paradigm. Roediger and McDermott presented participants with lists of 15 words that were the strongest associates to a missing word in free association norms (Russell

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