Memory distrust is related to memory errors, self-esteem, and personality

Yikang Zhang*, Henry Otgaar, J.Q. Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research on memory distrust and nonbelieved memory (NBM) both stress the importance of belief in memory but no previous research has brought these fields together. In the present study, we examined how trait memory distrust is associated with false memory and NBM, self-esteem as well as personality traits. Through two studies (N-1 = 280, N-2 = 77, we found that higher memory distrust was associated with higher false memory as well as NBM frequency, and lower self-esteem. As for personality traits, people who were high on agreeableness, openness, or conscientiousness had lower memory distrust. Explorative mediation analyses showed significant indirect effects of self-esteem on false memory (Study 1a and Study 2) and NBM (Study 2) through memory distrust. We conclude that memory distrust could be conducive to the formation of false memory and NBM under social conditions where one's memory is challenged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-292
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • false memory
  • memory distrust
  • nonbelieved memory
  • personality
  • self-esteem


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