Memory & Cognition

, Volume 36, Issue 8, pp 1415–1428

Perceptual representations in false recognition and priming of pictures


DOI: 10.3758/MC.36.8.1415

Cite this article as:
Weinstein, Y. & Shanks, D.R. Memory & Cognition (2008) 36: 1415. doi:10.3758/MC.36.8.1415


Using a new procedure, we investigate whether imagination can induce false memory by creating a perceptual representation. Participants studied pictures and words with and without an imagery task and at test performed both a direct recognition test and an indirect perceptual identification test on pictorial stimuli. Corrected false recognition rates were 7% for pictures studied in word form (Experiment 1), 26% for pictures imagined once (Experiment 2), and 48% for pictures imagined multiple times (Experiment 3), although on the indirect test, no priming was found for these items. Furthermore, a perceptual/conceptual imagery manipulation did not affect the tendency to claim that imagined items had been studied as pictures (Experiment 4). These results suggest that the false memories reported on direct tests are not driven by perceptual representations.

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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Psychology and Language SciencesUniversity College LondonLondonEngland