How Culture Shapes Constructive False Memory

J.Q. Wang*, H. Otgaar, P. Santtila, X.T. Shen, C. Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Culture plays a critical role in memory. Memory is also known to be constructive and prone to errors (e.g., false memories). However, little is known about how culture potentially shapes the formation of false memories. We examined the role of culture in shaping various aspects of false memory by comparing European (N = 33) and Chinese (N = 40) samples. In our study, we embedded the Deese-Roediger/McDermott (DRM) pictures in different contexts and paired them with participants? own name or other people?s name (e.g., Adele) to create item-person-context memory episodes. We found that European participants had more phantom recollection for non-presented lure pictures while Chinese participants were more likely to form familiarity for lure pictures. Furthermore, we showed that European participants formed more self-related false memories of item-context bindings than Chinese participants. Our study is the first to show cultural differences in constructive false memories using the DRM paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Culture
  • False memory
  • Self-Reference
  • Memory binding
  • DRM paradigm
  • SELF

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