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A self-reference false memory effect in the DRM paradigm: Evidence from Eastern and Western samples

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It is well established that processing information in relation to oneself (i.e., self-referencing) leads to better memory for that information than processing that same information in relation to others (i.e., other-referencing). However, it is unknown whether self-referencing also leads to more false memories than other-referencing does. In the current two experiments with European and East Asian samples, we presented participants the Deese-Roediger-McDermott lists together with their own name or other people's name (i.e., "Trump" in Experiment 1 and "Li Ming" in Experiment 2). We found consistent results across the two experiments; that is, in the self-reference condition, participants had higher true and false memory rates compared with those in the other-reference condition. Moreover, we found that self-referencing did not exhibit superior mnemonic advantage in terms of net accuracy compared with other-referencing and neutral conditions. These findings are discussed in terms of theoretical frameworks such as spreading activation theories and the fuzzy-trace theory. We propose that our results reflect the adaptive nature of memory in the sense that cognitive processes that increase mnemonic efficiency may also increase susceptibility to associative false memories.

    Research areas

  • Journal Article, SPREADING ACTIVATION, ADAPTIVE MEMORY, RECOGNITION, Self-reference, INFORMATION, RECALL, False memory, CULTURE, Fuzzy-trace theory, WORD LISTS, ASSOCIATIVE-ACTIVATION, Net accuracy, BINDING, Spreading activation, AGE
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-86
Number of pages11
JournalMemory & Cognition
Issue number1
Early online date23 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019