Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1551–1556 | Cite as

The effect of Twitter exposure on false memory formation

  • Kimberly M. Fenn
  • Nicholas R. Griffin
  • Mitchell G. Uitvlugt
  • Susan M. Ravizza
Brief Report

Abstract

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have increased drastically in popularity. However, information on these sites is not verified and may contain inaccuracies. It is well-established that false information encountered after an event can lead to memory distortion. Therefore, social media may be particularly harmful for autobiographical memory. Here, we tested the effect of Twitter on false memory. We presented participants with a series of images that depicted a story and then presented false information about the images in a scrolling feed that bore either a low or high resemblance to a Twitter feed. Confidence for correct information was similar across the groups, but confidence for suggested information was significantly lower when false information was presented in a Twitter format. We propose that individuals take into account the medium of the message when integrating information into memory.

Keywords

Memory False memory Social media 

Supplementary material

13423_2014_639_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (97 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 97.1 kb)

References

  1. 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), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Duggan, M., & Brenner, J. (2012). The demographics of social media users - 2012. Pew Internet & American Life Project, Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2013/PIP_SocialMediaUsers.pdf
  3. Echterhoff, G., Hirst, W., & Hussy, W. (2005). How eyewitnesses resist misinformation: Social postwarnings and the monitoring of memory characteristics. Memory & Cognition, 33(5), 770–782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Facebook.com. (2014). Key facts [Website information]. Retrieved January 21, 2014, from newsroom.fb.com/Key-Facts.Google Scholar
  5. Frenda, S. J., Nichols, R. M., & Loftus, E. F. (2011). Current issues and advances in misinformation research. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(1), 20–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Loftus, E. F. (2005). Planting misinformation in the human mind: a 30-year investigation of the malleability of memory. Learning & Memory, 12(4), 361–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  8. Mickes, L., Darby, R. S., Hwe, V., Bajic, D., Warker, J. A., Harris, C. R., et al. (2013). Major memory for microblogs. Memory & Cognition, 41(4), 481–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Okado, Y., & Stark, C. (2005). Neural activity during encoding predicts false memories created by misinformation. Learning & Memory, 12(1), 3–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Peters, M. J. V., Jelicic, J., Verbeek, H., & Merckelbach, H. (2007). Poor working memory predicts false memories. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 19(2), 213–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rosenstiel, T., & Mitchell, A. (2011). Overview: The State of the News Media 2011. Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism 2011, Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://stateofthemedia.org/2011/overview-2/
  12. Sparrow, B., Liu, J., & Wegner, D. M. (2011). Google effects on memory: cognitive consequences of having information at our fingertips. Science, 333(6043), 776–778.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Twitter.com. (2014). About Twitter, Inc [Website information]. Retrieved January 21, 2014, from about.twitter.com/company.Google Scholar
  14. Unsworth, N., Heitz, R. P., Schrock, J. C., & Engle, R. W. (2005). An automated version of the operation span task. Behavior Research Methods, 37(3), 498–505.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Watson, J. M., Bunting, M. F., Poole, B. J., & Conway, A. R. (2005). Individual differences in susceptibility to false memory in the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31(1), 76–85.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Zhu, B., Chen, C., Loftus, E. F., Lin, C., He, Q., Chen, C., … Dong, Q. (2010). Individual differences in false memory from misinformation: cognitive factors. Memory, 18(5), 543–555.Google Scholar
  17. Zickuhr, K., & Smith, A. (2012). Digitial differences. Pew Internet & American Life Project, Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Digital-differences.aspx

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly M. Fenn
    • 1
  • Nicholas R. Griffin
    • 1
  • Mitchell G. Uitvlugt
    • 1
  • Susan M. Ravizza
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations