How do associative and phonemic overlap interact to boost illusory recollection?


Keith A Hutchison, Michelle L Meade, Nikolas S Williams, Krista D Manley, Jaimie C McNabb




This project investigated the underlying mechanisms that boost false remember responses when participants receive study words that are both semantically and phonologically similar to a critical lure. Participants completed a memory task in which they were presented with a list of words all associated with a critical lure. Included within the list of semantic associates was a target that was either semantically associated (e.g., yawn) to the critical lure (e.g., sleep) or shared the initial (e.g., slam) or final (e.g., beep) phoneme(s) with the critical lure. After hearing the list, participants recalled each list item and indicated whether they just knew it was on the list or if they instead recollected specific contextual details of that item's presentation. We found that inserting an initial phonemic overlap target boosted experiences of recollection, but only when semantically related associates were presented beforehand. The results are consistent with models of spoken word recognition and show that established semantic context plus initial phonemic overlap play important roles in boosting false recollection.



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