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Memory. 2012;20(3):217-23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2011.653373. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Working memory predicts the rejection of false memories.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA.


The relationship between working memory capacity (WMC) and false memories in the memory conjunction paradigm was explored. Previous research using other paradigms has shown that individuals high in WMC are not as likely to experience false memories as low-WMC individuals, the explanation being that high-WMC individuals are better able to engage in source monitoring. In the memory conjunction paradigm participants are presented at study with parent words (e.g., eyeglasses, whiplash). At test, in addition to being presented with targets and foils, participants are presented with lures that are composed of previously studied features (e.g., eyelash). It was found that high-WMC individuals had lower levels of false recognition than low-WMC individuals. Furthermore, recall-to-reject responses were analysed (e.g., "I know I didn't see eyelash because I remember seeing eyeglasses") and it was found that high-WMC individuals were more likely to utilise this memory editing strategy, providing direct evidence that one reason that high-WMC individuals are not as prone to false memories is because they are better able to engage in source monitoring.

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