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Mem Cognit. 2007 Jun;35(4):660-7.

The effect of divided attention on false memory depends on how memory is tested.

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Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, England.


In three experiments, we investigated the effects of divided attention on false memory, using the Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants studied six DRM lists with full attention and six in one of two divided-attention conditions (random number generation or digit monitoring). Both divided-attention conditions increased false recall of related words (Experiment 1) but reduced false recognition (Experiment 2). These results were confirmed in Experiment 3, in which the type of secondary task was manipulated within groups. We argue that the increase in false recall with divided attention reflects a change in participants' response criterion, whereas the decrease in false recognition occurs because the secondary tasks prevent participants from generating associates of the words presented at study.

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