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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2008 May;34(3):460-77. doi: 10.1037/0278-7393.34.3.460.

Stereotypes and retrieval-provoked illusory source recollections.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA. cdodson@virginia.edu

Abstract

When expectations and stereotypes are activated at retrieval, they spontaneously create distorted and illusory recollections that are consistent with these expectations. Participants studied doctor (physician)-related and lawyer-related statements that were presented by 2 different people. When informed, on a subsequent source memory test, (i.e., of who presented what) that one of the study sources was actually a doctor and the other source was a lawyer, there was a strong tendency to attribute the test items in a stereotype-consistent manner. In 3 experiments, participants frequently reported recollecting specific details, such as via "remember" judgments, to justify their stereotype-consistent but incorrect responses. These experiments rule out explanations involving either the misattribution of strong familiarity or differences in the bias to making remember responses as accounts for the illusory source attributions. Instead, the illusory recollections are consistent with the notion that recollective experience is manufactured from both the information in the memory trace and information in the retrieval environment, such as an individual's expectations, stereotypes, and general knowledge.

PMID:
18444749
DOI:
10.1037/0278-7393.34.3.460
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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