Synthese

, Volume 190, Issue 12, pp 2429–2456 | Cite as

The information effect: constructive memory, testimony, and epistemic luck

Article

Abstract

The incorporation of post-event testimonial information into an agent’s memory representation of the event via constructive memory processes gives rise to the misinformation effect, in which the incorporation of inaccurate testimonial information results in the formation of a false memory belief. While psychological research has focussed primarily on the incorporation of inaccurate information, the incorporation of accurate information raises a particularly interesting epistemological question: do the resulting memory beliefs qualify as knowledge? It is intuitively plausible that they do not, for they appear to be only luckily true. I argue, however, that, despite its intuitive plausibility, this view is mistaken: once we adopt an adequate (modal) conception of epistemic luck and an adequate (adaptive) general approach to memory, it becomes clear that memory beliefs resulting from the incorporation of accurate testimonial information are not in general luckily true. I conclude by sketching some implications of this argument for the psychology of memory, suggesting that the misinformation effect would better be investigated in the context of a broader “information effect”.

Keywords

Memory Eyewitness memory Constructive memory Testimony Epistemic luck Misinformation effect 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alberini C. M. (2005) Mechanisms of memory stabilization: are consolidation and reconsolidation similar or distinct processes?. Trends in Neurosciences 28(1): 51–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson J. R. (1990) The adaptive character of thought. Erlbaum, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson J. R. (1991) Is human cognition adaptive?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14(3): 471–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ayers M., Reder L. (1998) A theoretical review of the misinformation effect: Predictions from an activation-based memory model. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 5(1): 1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernecker S. (2007) Remembering without knowing. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85(1): 137–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bernecker S. (2010) Memory: A philosophical study. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Burge T. (1993) Content preservation. Philosophical Review 102(4): 457–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Comesana J. (2007) Knowledge and subjunctive conditionals. Philosophy Compass 2(6): 781–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DePaulo B. M., Kashy D. A., Kirkendol S. E., Wyer M. M., Epstein J. A. (1996) Lying in everyday life. Journal of personality and social psychology 70(5): 979–995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dudai Y. (2004) The neurobiology of consolidations, or, how stable is the engram?. Annual review of psychology 55(1): 51–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fernández J. (2006) The intentionality of memory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84(1): 39–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fernández J. (2008a) Memory and time. Philosophical Studies 141(3): 333–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fernández J. (2008b) Memory, past and self. Synthese 160(1): 103–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frankish K. (2010) Dual-process and dual-system theories of reasoning. Philosophy Compass 5(10): 914–926CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fricker E. (1995) Telling and trusting: Reductionism and anti-reductionism in the epistemology of testimony. Mind 104(414): 393–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gabbert F., Memon A., Wright D. (2007) I saw it for longer than you: The relationship between perceived encoding duration and memory conformity. Acta Psychologica 124(3): 319–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gelfert A. (2009) Indefensible middle ground for local reductionism about testimony. Ratio 22(2): 170–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hetherington S. (1999) Knowing failably. Journal of Philosophy 96(11): 565–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holliday R. E., Hayes B. K. (2002) Automatic and intentional processes in children’s recognition memory: The reversed misinformation effect. Applied Cognitive Psychology 16(1): 1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Intraub H., Bender R. S., Mangels J. A. (1992) Looking at pictures but remembering scenes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 18(1): 180–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Johnson M. K. (1997) Source monitoring and memory distortion. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological sciences 352(1362): 1733–1745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Koriat A., Helstrup T. (2007) Metacognitive aspects of memory. In: Helstrup T., Magnussen S. (eds) Everyday memory. Psychology Press, London, pp 251–274Google Scholar
  23. Latus A. (2000) Moral and epistemic luck. Journal of Philosophical Research 25: 72–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Levine T. R., Kim R. K., Hamel L. M. (2010) People lie for a reason: Three experiments documenting the principle of veracity. Communication Research Reports 27(4): 271–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Levine T. R., Kim R. K., Park H. S., Hughes M. (2006) Deception detection accuracy is a predictable linear function of message veracity base-rate: A formal test of park and levine’s probability model. Communication Monographs 73(3): 243–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Levine T. R., Park H. S., McCornack S. A. (1999) Accuracy in detecting truths and lies: Documenting the “veracity effect”. Communication Monographs 66(2): 125–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lindsay D. S. (1994) Memory source monitoring and eyewitness testimony. In: Ross D. F., Read J. D., Toglia M. P. (eds) Adult eyewitness testimony: Current trends and developments. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Lindsay S. D., Johnson M. K. (1989) The reversed eyewitness suggestibility effect. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 27(2): 111–113Google Scholar
  29. Loftus, E. R. (1979/1996). Eyewitness testimony. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Loftus E. F. (2005) Planting misinformation in the human mind: A 30-year investigation of the malleability of memory. Learning & Memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) 12(4): 361–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Malcolm N. (1977) Memory and mind. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  32. Martin C. B., Deutscher M. (1966) Remembering. Philosophical Review 75(2): 161–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mascaro O., Sperber D. (2009) The moral, epistemic, and mindreading components of children’s vigilance towards deception. Cognition 112(3): 367–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Matthen M. (2010) Is memory preservation?. Philosophical Studies 148(1): 3–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McClelland J. L. (1995) Constructive memory and memory distortions: A parallel-distributed processing approach. In: Schacter D. L. (eds) Memory distortion. Harvard, Cambridge, MA, pp 69–90Google Scholar
  36. McClelland J. L. (2011) Memory as a constructive process: The parallel-distributed processing approach. In: Nalbantian S., Matthews P., McClelland J. L. (eds) The memory process: Neuroscientific and humanistic perspectives. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 129–151Google Scholar
  37. McHugh C. (2011) Judging as a non-voluntary action. Philosophical Studies 152(2): 245–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McKay R. T., Dennett D. C. (2009) The evolution of misbelief. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32(06): 493–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Michaelian K. (2008) Testimony as a natural kind. Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology 5(2): 180–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Michaelian K. (2010) In defence of gullibility: the epistemology of testimony and the psychology of deception detection. Synthese 176(3): 399–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Michaelian K. (2011a) Is memory a natural kind?. Memory Studies 4(2): 170–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Michaelian, K. (2011b) Metacognition and endorsement. Mind & Language (Forthcoming).Google Scholar
  43. Michaelian K. (2011c) The epistemology of forgetting. Erkenntnis 74(3): 399–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Michaelian K. (2011d) Generative memory. Philosophical Psychology 24(3): 323–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mitchell K. J., Johnson M. K. (2000) Source monitoring: Attributing mental experiences. In: Tulving E., Craik F. I. M. (eds) Oxford handbook of memory. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 95–175Google Scholar
  46. Nairne J. S., Pandeirada J. N. S. (2008) Adaptive memory: Remembering with a stone-age brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science 17(4): 239–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Nigro G., Neisser U. (1983) Point of view in personal memories*1. Cognitive Psychology 15(4): 467–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Park H. S., Levine T. (2001) A probability model of accuracy in deception detection experiments. Communication Monographs 68(2): 201–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pritchard D. (2005) Epistemic luck. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pritchard D., Smith M. (2004) The psychology and philosophy of luck*1. New Ideas in Psychology 22(1): 1–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rantzen A., Markham R. (1992) The reversed eyewitness testimony design: More evidence for source monitoring. Journal of General Psychology 119(1): 37–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Reid, T. (1764/1970). An inquiry into the human mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  53. Rice H. J., Rubin D. C. (2009) I can see it both ways: First- and third-person visual perspectives at retrieval. Consciousness and Cognition 18(4): 877–890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Robin F. (2010) Imagery and memory illusions. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9(2): 253–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Roediger H. L. (1996) Memory illusions. Journal of Memory and Language 35(2): 76–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Russell B. (1948) Human knowledge: Its scope and limits. Allen & Unwin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  57. Ryle G. (1949) The concept of mind. Hutchinson, LondonGoogle Scholar
  58. Schacter D. L., Addis D. R. (2007) The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory: Remembering the past and imagining the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences 362(1481): 773–786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Searcy W. R., Nowicki S. (2005) The evolution of animal communication: Reliability and deception in signalling systems. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  60. Shanton K. (2011) Memory, knowledge and epistemic competence. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2(1): 89–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Sosa E. (2007) A virtue epistemology: Apt belief and reflective knowledge. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Sperber D. (2001) An evolutionary perspective on testimony and argumentation. Philosophical Topics 29: 13–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sperber D., Clément F., Heintz C., Mascaro O., Mercier H., Origgi G. et al (2010) Epistemic vigilance. Mind & Language 25(4): 359–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Statman D. (1991) Moral and epistemic luck. Ratio 4(2): 146–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Suddendorf T., Corballis M. C. (2007) The evolution of foresight: What is mental time travel, and is it unique to humans?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30(03): 299–313Google Scholar
  66. Sutton J. (1998) Philosophy and memory traces. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  67. Sutton J. (2010) Observer perspective and acentred memory: Some puzzles about point of view in personal memory. Philosophical Studies 148(1): 27–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tulving E. (1982) Synergistic ecphory in recall and recognition. Canadian Journal of Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie 36(2): 130–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tulving E. (1983) Elements of episodic memory. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  70. Vandekerckhove M., Panksepp J. (2009) The flow of anoetic to noetic and autonoetic consciousness: A vision of unknowing (anoetic) and knowing (noetic) consciousness in the remembrance of things past and imagined futures. Consciousness and Cognition 18(4): 1018–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Verschuere, B., Spruyt, A., Meijer, E. H., & Otgaar, H. (2010). The ease of lying. Consciousness and Cognition, November 2010.Google Scholar
  72. Vosgerau G. (2010) Memory and content?. Consciousness and Cognition 19(3): 838–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Vrij A. (2008) Detecting lies and deceit: Pitfalls and opportunities (2nd ed.). Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  74. Zagzebski L. (1994) The inescapability of gettier problems. The Philosophical Quarterly 44(174): 65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zaragoza M. S., Lane S. M. (1994) Source misattributions and the suggestibility of eyewitness memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 20(4): 934–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBilkent UniversityBilkent, AnkaraTurkey

Personalised recommendations