Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 158–162 | Cite as

The effects of a levels-of-processing manipulation on false recall

Brief Reports


The present study attempted to determine the effect of a levels-of-processing manipulation on the incidence of false recall. In Experiment 1, participants engaged in either a vowel counting task or a concrete/abstract rating task; in Experiment 2, participants engaged in either a vowel counting task or a category sorting task. Results of both experiments demonstrated that participants who engaged in a deeper level of processing (i.e., concrete/abstract ratings or category sorting) recalled significantly more list items and critical lures. The present findings thus lend support to theories that attribute false memories to activation-based factors.


  1. Anastasi, J. S., Rhodes, M. G., &Burns, M. C. (2000). Distinguishing between memory illusions and actual memories utilizing phenomenological measurements and explicit warnings.American Journal of Psychology,113, 1–26.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anastasi, J. S.,Rhodes, M. G.,Carter, J. S., &Gaddy, J. R. (1998, March).False memories: Encoding or retrieval factors? Poster presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Mobile, AL.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, J. R. (1976).Language, memory, and thought. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, J. R. (1993).Rules of the mind. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Arndt, J., &Hirshman, E. (1998). True and false recognition in MINERVA2: Explanations from a global matching perspective.Journal of Memory & Language,39, 371–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ayers, M. S., &Reder, L. M. (1998). A theoretical review of the misinformation effect: Predictions from an activation-based memory model.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,5, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Collins, A. M., &Loftus, E. F. (1975). A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing.Psychological Review,82, 407–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Collins, A. M., &Quillian, M. R. (1972). How to make a language user. In E. Tulving & W. Donaldson (Eds.),Organization of memory (pp. 309–351). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  9. Craik, F. I. M., &Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,11, 671–684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Craik, F. I. M., &Tulving, E. (1975). Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,104, 268–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deese, J. (1959). On the prediction of occurrence of particular verbal intrusions in immediate recall.Journal of Experimental Psychology,58, 17–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fisher, R. P., &Craik, F. I. M. (1977). Interaction between encoding and retrieval operations in cued recall.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory,3, 701–711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fisher, R. P., &Craik, F. I. M. (1980). The effects of elaboration on recognition memory.Memory & Cognition,8, 400–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Flannagan, D. A., &Blick, K. A. (1989). Levels of processing and the retention of word meanings.Perceptual & Motor Skills,68, 1123–1128.Google Scholar
  15. Gallo, D. A., Roberts, M. J., &Seamon, J. G. (1997). Remembering words not presented in lists: Can we avoid creating false memories?Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,4, 271–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lockhart, R. S., &Craik, F. I. (1990). Levels of processing: A retrospective commentary on a framework for memory research.Canadian Journal of Psychology,44, 87–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mather, M., Henkel, L. A., &Johnson, M. K. (1997). Evaluating characteristics of false memories: Remember/know judgments and memory characteristics questionnaire compared.Memory & Cognition,25, 826–837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McDermott, K. B. (1996). The persistence of false memories in list recall.Journal of Memory & Language,35, 212–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Norman, K. A., &Schacter, D. L. (1997). False recognition in younger and older adults: Exploring the characteristics of illusory memories.Memory & Cognition,25, 838–848.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Payne, D. G., Elie, C. J., Blackwell, J. M., &Neuschatz, J. S. (1996). Memory illusions: Recalling, recognizing, and recollecting events that never occurred.Journal of Memory & Language,35, 261–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Payne, D. G., Neuschatz, J. S., Lampinen, J. M., &Lynn, S. J. (1997). Compelling memory illusions: The qualitative characteristics of false memories.Current Directions in Psychological Science,6, 56–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Read, J. D. (1996). From a passing thought to a false memory in 2 minutes: Confusing real and illusory events.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,3, 105–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Roediger, H. L., III, &McDermott, K. B. (1995). Creating false memories: Remembering words not presented in lists.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,21, 803–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Seamon, J. G., Luo, C. R., &Gallo, D. A. (1998). Creating false memories of words with or without recognition of list items: Evidence for nonconscious processes.Psychological Science,9, 20–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sternberg, R. J. (1996).Cognitive psychology. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  26. Toth, J. P. (1996). Conceptual automaticity in recognition memory: Levels of processing effects on familiarity.Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology,50, 123–138.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Tussing, A. A., &Greene, R. L. (1997). False recognition of associates: How robust is the effect?Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,4, 572–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Underwood, B. J. (1965). False recognition produced by implicit verbal responses.Journal of Experimental Psychology,70, 122–129.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vochatzer, K. G., &Blick, K. A. (1989) Levels of processing and the retention of paired-associates.Perceptual & Motor Skills,69, 349–350.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFrancis Marion UniversityFlorence

Personalised recommendations