Psychological Research

, Volume 82, Issue 2, pp 429–438 | Cite as

Now you make false memories; now you do not: the order of presentation of words in DRM lists influences the production of the critical lure in Alzheimer’s disease

  • Christelle Evrard
  • Anne-Laure Gilet
  • Fabienne Colombel
  • Elodie Dufermont
  • Yves Corson
Original Article


Why do some Alzheimer’s patients produce fewer false memories than healthy older participants in the DeeseRoedigerMcDermott paradigm, which was especially designed for the study of false memories in a laboratory setting? Using a very simple methodology, this study examines a new explanatory factor inherent in the paradigm itself: the order of presentation of the words in the lists. A sample comprising 149 participants (36 younger, 40 middle-aged, 37 healthy older adults, and 36 Alzheimer’s patients) performed a DRM task with either a classic descending forward associative strength (FAS) presentation order of the words or an ascending FAS presentation order. The results showed that this simple manipulation influenced the production of false memories in Alzheimer’s patients only. Contrary to the other participants, Alzheimer’s patients produced significantly more critical lures in the ascending FAS condition than in the descending FAS condition. These new data, interpreted in the light of serial position effects, invite a reconsideration of the relevance of the DRM paradigm for comparing the production of false memories in Alzheimer’s patients and healthy older participants.



We thank P. Chapelan, M. Ganemtore, C. Marie, and C. Vilhem for their assistance in recruitment and data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christelle Evrard
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anne-Laure Gilet
    • 1
  • Fabienne Colombel
    • 1
  • Elodie Dufermont
    • 1
  • Yves Corson
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Psychologie des Pays de la Loire LPPL-EA 4638, Faculté de PsychologieUniversité de NantesNantesFrance
  2. 2.Centre Mémoire Ressources et RecherchesCentre Hospitalier UniversitaireNantesFrance

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