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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Dec 24;110(52):20947-52. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1314373110. Epub 2013 Nov 18.

False memories in highly superior autobiographical memory individuals.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, and Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697.

Abstract

The recent identification of highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) raised the possibility that there may be individuals who are immune to memory distortions. We measured HSAM participants' and age- and sex-matched controls' susceptibility to false memories using several research paradigms. HSAM participants and controls were both susceptible to false recognition of nonpresented critical lure words in an associative word-list task. In a misinformation task, HSAM participants showed higher overall false memory compared with that of controls for details in a photographic slideshow. HSAM participants were equally as likely as controls to mistakenly report they had seen nonexistent footage of a plane crash. Finding false memories in a superior-memory group suggests that malleable reconstructive mechanisms may be fundamental to episodic remembering. Paradoxically, HSAM individuals may retrieve abundant and accurate autobiographical memories using fallible reconstructive processes.

KEYWORDS:

DRM; crashing memories; hyperthymesia; suggestion

Comment in

PMID:
24248358
PMCID:
PMC3876244
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1314373110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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