Expert opinions on the smallest effect size of interest in false memory research

P. Riesthuis*, I. Mangiulli, N. Broers, H. Otgaar

*Corresponding author for this work

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In the present study, we used a new approach to establish the smallest effect size of interest (SESOI) for false memory research by asking memory researchers what they considered to be the SESOI in false memory research. They were presented with three hypothetical and three influential paper scenarios. These scenarios depicted studies examining the effects of certain manipulations (e.g., therapy) on false memory formation using well-known false memory paradigms: Deese/Roediger-McDermott, misinformation, and forced fabrication. Subsequently, they were asked for each scenario what they would consider to be the SESOI for practical and theoretical purposes and justify their decisions. We found that there was no clear consensus for the SESOI. However, memory researchers tended to accept smaller SESOIs or "any difference that leads to a p < .05," especially for theoretical ends. We argue that the lack of a general consensus is acceptable as long as proper justification is used. We discuss such rationales and provide recommendations for setting the SESOI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-215
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • expert opinion
  • false memory
  • smallest effect size of interest

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