Creating nonbelieved memories for bizarre actions using an imagination inflation procedure

Chunlin Li*, Jianqin Wang*, Henry Otgaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The current experiments examined the creation of nonbelieved true and false memories after imagining bizarre and familiar actions using the imagination inflation procedure (Goff & Roediger, 1998). In both experiments, participants took part in three sessions. In Session 1, participants had to perform or imagine simple familiar actions (e.g., “stir the water with the spoon”) and bizarre actions (e.g., “balance the spoon on your nose”). A day later, participants needed to imagine simple actions of which some were new actions, and some were old actions that appeared in the first session. After a week, the participants completed a recognition task. For those actions that were correctly or incorrectly remembered as having been performed, the participant was challenged that the action was not performed in order to evoke nonbelieved true and false memories. In general, we found that the imagination inflation procedure can successfully induce participants to produce nonbelieved memories. In Study 1, we successfully induced nonbelieved memories for bizarre actions, although in general nonbelieved memory rates were low. In Study 2, more participants formed nonbelieved memories for bizarre actions than for familiar actions. Also, we found that especially belief was more susceptible to revision when memories were challenged than recollection. In two experiments, we showed that nonbelieved memories can successfully be induced for both familiar and bizarre actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1277-1286
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • bizarre actions
  • familiar actions
  • imagination inflation
  • nonbelieved memories

Cite this