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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 Psicólogos del Principado de Asturias).
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Disentangling the Effects of Backward/Forward Associative Strength and Theme Identifiability in False Memory

María Soledad Beato1, Mar Suarez1 and Sara Cadavid2

1 Universidad de Salamanca,
2 Universidad del Rosario, Colombia

Background: False memory has been extensively studied using the Deese/Roediger-McDermott paradigm. Despite the robustness of the effect, there is wide variability in the results, which is not fully understood. Method: Three experiments independently examined the role of backward associative strength (BAS), forward associative strength (FAS), and theme identifiability (ID) on false memories. In Experiment 1, lists varied in BAS while controlling FAS and ID. In Experiment 2, FAS was manipulated while BAS and ID were controlled. Finally, in Experiment 3, lists varied in ID while controlling BAS and FAS. Data was analyzed using both frequentist and Bayesian analyses. Results: We found false memories in all three experiments. Specifically, false recognition was higher in high-BAS than in low-BAS lists in Experiment 1. In Experiment 2, false recognition was higher in high-FAS than in low-FAS lists. In Experiment 3, false recognition was lower in high-ID than in low-ID lists. Conclusions: These findings suggest that both BAS and FAS—variables that promote error-inflating processes—and ID—which promotes error-editing processes—contribute independently to the production of false memories. Splitting apart the role of these variables helps to understand the variability of false memories and to extrapolate DRM tasks to explore other cognitive domains.

Antecedentes: las memorias falsas se han estudiado ampliamente utilizando el paradigma Deese/Roediger-McDermott. A pesar de la robustez del efecto, existe una amplia variabilidad de resultados que todavía no se comprende completamente. Método: tres experimentos examinaron independientemente el papel de la fuerza asociativa inversa (BAS), fuerza asociativa directa (FAS) e identificabilidad del tema (ID) en el reconocimiento falso (RF). Primero, se manipuló el BAS mientras se controló FAS e ID (Experimento 1). Segundo, se manipuló el FAS mientras se controló BAS e ID (Experimento 2). Finalmente, se manipuló ID mientras se controló BAS y FAS (Experimento 3). Se utilizaron análisis frecuentistas y bayesianos. Resultados: el RF fue mayor en las listas de alto que bajo BAS (Experimento 1), y alto que bajo FAS (Experimento 2). En cambio, el RF fue menor en las listas de alto ID que bajo ID (Experimento 3). Conclusiones: tanto BAS como FAS, variables que promueven procesos de inflación del error, pero también ID, quien promueve procesos de edición del error, contribuyen de forma independiente a la producción de memorias falsas. Aislar el papel de estas variables ayuda a comprender la variabilidad de los falsos recuerdos y a extrapolar las tareas DRM para explorar otros dominios cognitivos.

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