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Psychol Res. 2018 Jul;82(4):806-818. doi: 10.1007/s00426-017-0855-9. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

False memory susceptibility in coma survivors with and without a near-death experience.

Author information

1
Coma Science Group, GIGA Research Center and Neurology Department, University and University Hospital of Liège, Avenue de l'Hôpital, 11, 4000, Liège, Belgium. coma@chu.ulg.ac.be.
2
Coma Science Group, GIGA Research Center and Neurology Department, University and University Hospital of Liège, Avenue de l'Hôpital, 11, 4000, Liège, Belgium.
3
Cognitive and Behavioral Clinical Psychology Unit, Psychology and Neuroscience of Cognition Research Unit (PsyNCog), University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.

Abstract

It has been postulated that memories of near-death experiences (NDEs) could be (at least in part) reconstructions based on experiencers' (NDErs) previous knowledge and could be built as a result of the individual's attempt to interpret the confusing experience. From the point of view of the experiencer, NDE memories are perceived as being unrivalled memories due to its associated rich phenomenology. However, the scientific literature devoted to the cognitive functioning of NDErs in general, and their memory performance in particular, is rather limited. This study examined NDErs' susceptibility to false memories using the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. We included 20 NDErs who reported having had their experience in the context of a life-threatening event (Greyson NDE scale total score ≥7/32) and 20 volunteers (matched for age, gender, education level, and time since brain insult) who reported a life-threatening event but without a NDE. Both groups were presented with DRM lists for a recall task during which they were asked to assign "Remember/Know/Guess" judgements to any recalled response. In addition, they were later asked to complete a post-recall test designed to obtain estimates of activation and monitoring of critical lures. Results demonstrated that NDErs and volunteers were equally likely to produce false memories, but that NDErs recalled them more frequently associated with compelling illusory recollection. Of particular interest, analyses of activation and monitoring estimates suggest that NDErs and volunteers groups were equally likely to think of critical lures, but source monitoring was less successful in NDErs compared to volunteers.

PMID:
28303355
DOI:
10.1007/s00426-017-0855-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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