Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 271–276 | Cite as

Remembering words not presented in lists: Can we avoid creating false memories?

  • David A. Gallo
  • Meredith J. Roberts
  • John G. Seamon
Brief Reports


Can subjects avoid creating false memories as outlined in Roediger and McDermott’s (1995) false recognition paradigm if they are forewarned about this memory illusion? We presented subjects with semantically related word lists, followed by a recognition test. The test was composed of studied words, semantically related nonstudied words (critical lures), and unrelated nonstudied words. One group of subjects was uninformed about the false recognition effect, a second group was urged to minimize all false alarms, and a third group was forewarned about falsely recognizing critical lures. Compared with the uninformed and cautious subjects, the forewarned subjects reduced their false alarm rate for critical lures, and they made remember and know judgments equally often for recognized studied words and critical lures. But forewarning did not eliminate the false recognition effect, as these subjects and those in the other groups made numerous false recognitions in this task.


False Alarm False Alarm Rate Recognition Test False Memory Study List 
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. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Gallo
    • 1
  • Meredith J. Roberts
    • 1
  • John G. Seamon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWesleyan UniversityMiddletown

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