Norms for word lists that create false memories

Abstract

Roediger and McDermott (1995) induced false recall and false recognition for words that were not presented in lists. They had subjects study 24 lists of 15 words that were associates of a common word (called the critical target or critical lure) that was not presented in the list. False recall and false recognition of the critical target occurred frequently in response to these lists. The purpose of the current work was to provide a set of normative data for the lists Roediger and McDermott used and for 12 others developed more recently. We tested false recall and false recognition for critical targets from 36 lists. Despite the fact that all lists were constructed to produce false remembering, the diversity in their effectiveness was large—60% or more of subjects falsely recalledwindow andsleep following the appropriate lists, and false recognition for these items was greater than 80%. However, the list generated fromking led to 10% false recall and 27% false recognition. Possible reasons for these wide differences in effectiveness of the lists are discussed. These norms serve as a useful benchmark for designing experiments about false recall and false recognition in this paradigm.

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Correspondence to Michael A. Stadler or Henry L. Roediger or Kathleen B. McDermott.

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Stadler, M.A., Roediger, H.L. & McDermott, K.B. Norms for word lists that create false memories. Memory & Cognition 27, 494–500 (1999). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03211543

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Keywords

  • Free Recall
  • Serial Position
  • False Memory
  • False Recognition
  • Critical Item