Memory & Cognition

, Volume 30, Issue 7, pp 1054–1064 | Cite as

Are false memories more difficult to forget than accurate memories? The effect of retention interval on recall and recognition

  • John G. Seamon
  • Chun R. Luo
  • Jonathan J. Kopecky
  • Catherine A. Price
  • Leeatt Rothschild
  • Nicholas S. Fung
  • Michael A. Schwartz


What is the effect of retention interval on accurate and false recollection in the Deese, Roediger, and McDermott (DRM) procedure? Previous research has suggested that false recall is more persistent than accurate recall, but the recognition results have been inconsistent. In two parametric studies, we tested recall and recognition for the same DRM lists, over retention intervals that ranged from no delay to a 2-month delay. We found that accurate and false memory were diminished by increases in retention interval, false memory persistence was present for recall and recognition, greater persistence for false memory than for accurate memory was more readily observed for recall than recognition, and the highthreshold (Pr), signal detection (d’), and nonparametric (A’) recognition measures differed in their sensitivity for detecting change. The effect of retention interval on accurate and false memory is consistent with expectations from fuzzy trace theory. In the DRM procedure, truth is not more memorable than fiction.


Free Recall Retention Interval List Word False Memory False Recognition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • John G. Seamon
    • 1
  • Chun R. Luo
    • 1
  • Jonathan J. Kopecky
    • 1
  • Catherine A. Price
    • 1
  • Leeatt Rothschild
    • 1
  • Nicholas S. Fung
    • 1
  • Michael A. Schwartz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWesleyan UniversityMiddletown

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