Psicothema was founded in Asturias (northern Spain) in 1989, and is published jointly by the Psychology Faculty of the University of Oviedo and the Psychological Association of the Principality of Asturias (Colegio Oficial de Psicología del Principado de Asturias).
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False recognition production indexes in forward associative strength (FAS) lists with three critical words

María Soledad Beato1 and Jason Arndt2

1 University of Salamanca and
2 Middlebury College (USA)

Background: False memory illusions have been widely studied using the Deese/Roediger-McDermott paradigm (DRM). In this paradigm, participants study words semantically related to a single nonpresented critical word. In a memory test critical words are often falsely recalled and recognized. Method: The present study was conducted to measure the levels of false recognition for seventy-five Spanish DRM word lists that have multiple critical words per list. Lists included three critical words (e.g., HELL, LUCEFER, and SATAN) simultaneously associated with six studied words (e.g., devil, demon, fire, red, bad, and evil). Different levels of forward associative strength (FAS) between the critical words and their studied associates were used in the construction of the lists. Specifically, we selected lists with the highest FAS values possible and FAS was continuously decreased in order to obtain the 75 lists. Results: Six words per list, simultaneously associated with three critical words, were sufficient to produce false recognition. Furthermore, there was wide variability in rates of false recognition (e.g., 53% for DUNGEON, PRISON, and GRATES; 1% for BRACKETS, GARMENT, and CLOTHING). Finally, there was no correlation between false recognition and associative strength. Conclusions: False recognition variability could not be attributed to differences in the forward associative strength.

Índices de producción de reconocimiento falso en listas con tres palabras críticas construidas a partir de la fuerza asociativa directa. Antecedentes: los recuerdos falsos han sido ampliamente estudiados usando el paradigma Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM). En este paradigma se estudian palabras semánticamente relacionadas a una palabra crítica no presentada. En el posterior test de memoria frecuentemente las palabras críticas se recuerdan o reconocen falsamente. Método: en este estudio se han obtenido los niveles de reconocimiento falso para 75 listas DRM en castellano. Las listas incluían tres palabras críticas (e.g., INFIERNO, LUCIFER, SATÁN) simultáneamente asociadas a seis palabras estudiadas (e.g., diablo, demonio, fuego, rojo, malo, mal). Para construir las listas se usaron diferentes niveles de fuerza asociativa directa entre las palabras críticas y sus asociados estudiados. Concretamente, se seleccionaron listas con el mayor nivel de fuerza asociativa posible y progresivamente se fue disminuyendo la fuerza asociativa hasta obtener las 75 listas. Resultados: seis palabras por lista, simultáneamente asociadas a tres palabras críticas, fueron suficientes para producir reconocimiento falso. Además, había una amplia variabilidad en el rango de reconocimiento falso obtenido (e.g., 53% para MAZMORRA, PRISIÓN y REJAS; 1% para CORCHETES, PRENDA y TEXTIL). Finalmente, no había correlación entre el reconocimiento falso y la fuerza asociativa. Conclusiones: la variabilidad en el reconocimiento falso no se puede relacionar con diferencias en la fuerza asociativa directa.


Impact Factor JCR SSCI Clarivate 2023 = 3.2 (Q1) / CiteScore SCOPUS 2023 = 6.5 (Q1)