Advertisement

Memory & Cognition

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 1233–1244 | Cite as

Assessing the accuracy of conflicting autobiographical memories

  • Michael RossEmail author
  • Roger Buehler
  • James W. Karr
Article

Abstract

We examined criteria that rememberers and neutral audiences use to validate conflicting memories. In Experiment 1, rememberers described an incident that they recalled differently from someone else from their own and the other person’s perspective. Rememberers and audiences then evaluated the accuracy of statements in both accounts, explained their accuracy ratings, and appraised the qualities of the memories. In Experiment 2, dyads who possessed conflicting memories of a shared past episode evaluated each other’s recollections. In both studies, rememberers rated their own recollections as more accurate than other people’s and based their judgments primarily on the internal coherence of the memories. Rememberers used consensus more frequently and sensory detail less often to evaluate other people’s memories than their own. Audiences (Experiment 1) reported examining the consistency between the accounts and their own experiences; they also used consensus and normative behavior to a greater extent than rememberers. In both studies, rememberers judged their own accounts to be more detailed and coherent. Their ratings of detail and coherence predicted their ratings of accuracy.

Keywords

Accuracy Rating Audience Participant Internal Coherence Truth Criterion Consistency Criterion 
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.

References

  1. Bahrick, H. P., Hall, L. K., &Berger, S. A. (1996). Accuracy and distortion in memory for high school grades.Psychological Science,7, 265–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartlett, F. C. (1932).Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, B. E., &Loftus, E. F. (1989). Trivial persuasion in the courtroom: The power of (a few) minor details.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,56, 669–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bruner, J. (1986).Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, J. (1977).Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. DePaulo, B. M., Stone, J. I., &Lassiter, G. D. (1985). Deceiving and detecting deceit. In B. R. Schlenker (Ed.),The self and social life (pp. 323–370). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  7. Fischhoff, B. (1975). Hindsight is not equal to foresight: The effects of outcome knowledge on judgment under uncertainty.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,1, 288–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fleming, J. H., Darley, J. M., Hilton, J. L., &Kojetin, B. A. (1990). Multiple audience problem: A strategic communication perspective on social perception.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,58, 593–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Greenwald, A. G. (1980). The totalitarian ego: Fabrication and revision of personal history.American Psychologist,35, 603–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Higgins, E. T., &Lurie, L. (1983). Context, categorization, and memory: The “change-of-standard” effect.Cognitive Psychology,15, 525–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Johnson, M. K. (1988). Reality monitoring: An experimental phenomenological approach.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,117, 390–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Johnson, M. K., Foley, M. A., Suengas, A. G., &Raye, C. L. (1988). Phenomenal characteristics of memories for perceived and imagined autobiographical events.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,117, 371–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnson, M. K., Hashtroudi, S., &Lindsay, D. S. (1993). Source monitoring.Psychological Bulletin,114, 3–28.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Johnson, M. K., &Raye, C. L. (1981). Reality monitoring.Psychological Review,88, 67–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Johnson, M. K., &Sherman, S. J. (1990). Constructing and reconstructing the past and future in the present. In E. T. Higgins & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.),Handbook of motivation and social cognition: Foundations of social behaviour (Vol. 2, pp. 482–526). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  16. Krauss, R. M. (1981). Impression formation, impression management, and nonverbal behaviours. In E. T. Higgins, C. P. Hermann, & M. P. Zanna (Eds.),Social cognition: The Ontario Symposium (Vol. 1, pp. 323–341). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Loftus, E. F. (1981). Mentalmorphosis: Alterations in memory produced by the bonding of new information to old. In J. B. Long & A. D. Baddeley (Eds.),Attention and performance IX (pp. 417–434). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  18. Loftus, E. F. (1993). The reality of repressed memories.American Psychologist,48, 518–537.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Loftus, E. F., &Palmer, J. C. (1974). Reconstruction of automobile destruction: An examination of the interaction between language and memory.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,13, 585–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 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.Google Scholar
  21. Mead, G. H. (1934).Mind, self and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  22. Mead, G. H. (1964).Selected writings (A. J. Reck, Ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Neisser, U. (1967).Cognitive psychology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  24. 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.Google Scholar
  25. Reyes, R. M., Thompson, W. C., &Bower, G. H. (1980). Judgmental biases resulting from differing availabilities of arguments.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,39, 2–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ross, M. (1989). Relation of implicit theories to the construction of personal histories.Psychological Review,96, 341–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ross, M. (1997). Validating memories. In N. L. Stein, P. A. Ornstein, B. Tversky, & C. Brainerd (Eds.),Memory for everyday and emotional events (pp. 49–82). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  28. Ross, M., &Buehler, R. (1994). Creative remembering. In U. Neisser & R. Fivush (Eds.),The remembering self (pp. 205–235). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ross, M., &Fletcher, J. G. O. (1985). Attribution and social perception. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.),Handbook of social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 73–122). New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  30. Schacter, D. L. (1996).Searching for memory. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  31. Schooler, J. W., Clark, C. A., &Loftus, E. F. (1988). Knowing when memory is real. In M. M. Gruneberg, P. E. Morris, & R.N. Sykes (Eds.),Practical aspects of memory: Current research and issues (Vol. 1, pp. 83–88). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Schooler, J. W., Gerhard, D., &Loftus, E. F. (1986). Qualities of the unreal.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,12, 171–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Taylor, S. E., &Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusion and well-being: A social psychological perspective on mental health.Psychological Bulletin,103, 193–210.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Undeutsch, U. (1988). The development of statement reality analysis. In J. C. Yuille (Ed.),Credibility assessment (pp. 101–120). Amsterdam: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  35. Vincente, K. J., &Brewer, W. F. (1993). Reconstructive remembering of the scientific literature.Cognition,46, 101–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yuille, J. C. (1988).Credibility assessment. Amsterdam: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  37. Zangwill, O. L. (1972). Remembering revisited.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,24, 123–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zuckerman, M., DeFrank, R. S., Hall, J. A., Larrance, D. T., &Rosenthal, R. (1979). Facial and vocal cues of deception and honesty.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,15, 378–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Wifrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations