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Psychon Bull Rev. 2001 Mar;8(1):155-61.

"If I had said it I would have remembered it": reducing false memories with a distinctiveness heuristic.

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Department of Psychology, Harvard University, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


We examined the contributions of decision processes to the rejection of false memories. In two experiments, people studied lists of semantically related words and then completed a recognition test containing studied words, unrelated lure words, and related lure words. People who said words aloud at study were less likely to falsely recognize related lures on the test than were those who heard words at study. We suggest that people who said words at study employed a distinctiveness heuristic during the test whereby they demanded access to distinctive say information in order to judge an item as old. Even when retrieving say information is not perfectly diagnostic of prior study, as in Experiment 2, in which participants both said and heard words at study, people persist in using the distinctiveness heuristic to reduce false memories.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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