[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study we examined whether higher levels of object imagery, a stable characteristic that reflects the ability and preference in generating pictorial mental images of objects, facilitate involuntary and voluntary retrieval of autobiographical memories (ABMs). Individuals with high (High-OI) and low (Low-OI) levels of object imagery were asked to perform an involuntary and a voluntary ABM task in the laboratory. Results showed that High-OI participants generated more involuntary and voluntary ABMs than Low-OI, with faster retrieval times. High-OI also reported more detailed memories compared to Low-OI and retrieved memories as visual images. Theoretical implications of these findings for research on voluntary and involuntary ABMs are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent research on involuntary autobiographical memories (IAMs) has shown that these memories can be elicited and studied in the laboratory under controlled conditions. Employing a modified version of a vigilance task developed by Schlagman and Kvavilashvili (Mem Cogn 36:920-932, 2008) to elicit IAMs, we investigated the effects of varying the frequency of external cues on the number of IAMs reported. During the vigilance task, participants had to detect an occasional target stimulus (vertical lines) in a constant stream of non-target stimuli (horizontal lines). Participants had to interrupt the task whenever they became aware of any task-unrelated mental contents and to report them. In addition to line patterns, participants were exposed to verbal cues and their frequency was experimentally manipulated in three conditions (frequent cues vs. infrequent cues vs. infrequent cues plus arithmetic operations). We found that, compared to infrequent cues, both conditions with frequent cues and infrequent cues plus arithmetic operations decreased the number of IAMs reported. The comparison between the three experimental conditions suggests that this reduction was due to the greater cognitive load in conditions of frequent cues and infrequent cue plus arithmetic operations. Possible mechanisms involved in this effect and their implications for research on IAMs are discussed.
Psychological Research 12/2014; 79(6). DOI:10.1007/s00426-014-0632-y · 2.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this paper, we review the state of knowledge about a previously assumed to be rare memory phenomenon called nonbelieved memories. Nonbelieved memories refer to a counterintuitive phenomenon in which vivid autobiographical memories are no longer believed to have happened although vivid recollective features remain present. Such memories stand in contrast to the more typical situation that when events are recollected they are also believed to have genuinely occurred. Data regarding the frequency, characteristics, and factors that contribute to the development of naturally occurring and laboratory induced nonbelieved memories is reviewed. Relationships of nonbelieved memories to theories of autobiographical remembering and the study of remembering in applied domains are discussed.
Current Directions in Psychological Science 06/2014; 23:349-354. DOI:10.1177/0963721414542102 · 3.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In two experiments, pictorial cues were compared with their verbal labels to assess their effectiveness in eliciting involuntary autobiographical memories. Cues were relatively complex in Experiment 1 (e.g., relaxing on a beach) and simple objects in Experiment 2 (e.g., a ball). In both experiments, participants went through a vigilance task in which they were presented with frequent nontarget and rare target visual stimuli. Pictures or their corresponding verbal labels were also displayed on both target and nontarget stimuli, but participants were told that these were irrelevant to the task. They were asked to interrupt the vigilance task whenever they became aware of task-unrelated mental contents and to report them. In both experiments, more involuntary memories were elicited in the verbal cue condition, rather than in the pictorial cue condition. This result is discussed in relation to previous work that highlighted the greater effectiveness of verbal cues in memory tasks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When people try not to think about a certain item, they can accomplish this goal by using a thought substitution strategy and think about something else. Research conducted with the think/no-think (TNT) paradigm indicates that such strategy leads subsequently to forgetting the information participants tried not to think about. The present study pursued two goals. First, it investigated the mechanism of forgetting due to thought substitution, contrasting the hypothesis by which forgetting is due to blocking caused by substitutes with the hypothesis that forgetting is due to inhibition (using an independent cue methodology). Second, a boundary condition for forgetting due to thought substitution was examined by creating conditions under which the generation of appropriate substitutes would be impaired. In two experiments, participants completed a TNT task under thought substitution instructions in which either words or pseudo-words were used as original cues and memory was assessed with original and independent cues. The results revealed forgetting in both original and independent cue tests, supporting the inhibitory account of thought substitution, but only when cues were words, and not when they were non-words, pointing to the ineffectiveness of a thought substitution strategy when original cues lack semantic content.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that involuntary autobiographical memories (IAMs) can be elicited in the laboratory. Here we assessed whether the specific instructions given to participants can change the nature of the IAMs reported, in terms of both their frequency and their characteristics. People were either made or not made aware that the aim of the study was to examine IAMs. They reported mental contents either whenever they became aware of them or following a predetermined schedule. Both making people aware of the aim of the study and following a fixed schedule of interruptions increased significantly the number of IAMs reported. When aware of the aim of the study, participants reported more specific memories that had been retrieved and rehearsed more often in the past. These findings demonstrate that the number and characteristics of memories depend on the procedure used. Explanations of these effects and their implications for research on IAMs are discussed.
PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e89582. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0089582 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper examines the idea that believing that events occurred in the past is a non-memorial decision which reflects underlying processes that are distinct from recollecting events. Research on autobiographical memory has often focused on events that are both believed to have occurred and remembered, thus tending to overlook the distinction between autobiographical belief and recollection. The study of event representations such as false memories, believed-not-remembered events, and non-believed memories show the influence of non-memorial processes on evaluations of occurrence. Believing that an event occurred and recollecting an event may be more strongly dissociated than previously stated. The relative independence of these constructs was examined in two studies. In Study 1, multiple events were cued and then each was rated on autobiographical belief, recollection, and other memory characteristics. In Study 2, participants described a nonbelieved memory, a believed memory, and a believed-not-remembered event, and made similar ratings. In both studies, structural equation modeling techniques revealed distinct belief and recollection latent variables. Modeling the predictors of these factors revealed a double dissociation: perceptual, re-experiencing, and emotional features predicted recollection and not belief, whereas event plausibility strongly predicted belief and weakly predicted recollection. The results show that judgments of autobiographical belief and recollection are distinct, that each is influenced by different sources of information and processes, and that the strength of their relationship varies depending on the type of event under study. The concept of autobiographical belief is elaborated, and implications of the findings are discussed in relation to decision making about events, social influence on memory, metacognition, and recognition processes.
Journal of Experimental Psychology General 04/2014; 143:1242-1258. DOI:10.1037/a0034110 · 5.50 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aging is thought to involve a decline in executive-control capacities although evidence regarding this claim is not always clear. Thus, while studies exist that suggest impoverished inhibitory memory control in older adults relative to younger adults, experiments with the list-method direct forgetting procedure have mostly failed to show adult-age differences in voluntary forgetting. In the present study we aimed to further study this issue by comparing young-old and young adults’ performance with the selective directed forgetting (SDF) procedure, which we assumed to involve higher demands of executive control than the standard non-selective procedure. Thus, on the basis of previous studies showing that a critical factor in finding adult-age differences in executive-control tasks is the overall challenge posed by the tasks, we predicted less SDF in older adults than in younger adults. Supporting our hypothesis, across three experiments we show evidence of older adults’ impoverished capacity to voluntarily forget episodic memories, though only when the task requires selective forgetting. Ours join other findings to suggest that sensitiveness to detect adult-age differences in cognitive control may strongly depend on the executive-control demands imposed by tasks.
Psychology and Aging 03/2014; 29(1):128-139. DOI:10.1037/a0035598 · 2.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that many people hold personal memories for events that they no longer believe occurred. This study examines the reasons that people provide for choosing to reduce autobiographical belief in vividly recollected autobiographical memories. A body of nonbelieved memories provided by 374 individuals was reviewed to develop a qualitatively derived categorization system. The final scheme consisted of 8 major categories (in descending order of mention): social feedback, event plausibility, alternative attributions, general memory beliefs, internal event features, consistency with external evidence, views of self/others, and personal motivation; and numerous sub-categories. Independent raters coded the reports and judged the primary reason that each person provided for withdrawing belief. The nature of each category, frequency of category endorsement, category overlap, and phenomenological ratings are presented, following which links to related literature and implications are discussed. This study documents that a wide variety of recollective and non-recollective sources of information influence decision-making about the occurrence of autobiographical events.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of posthypnotic suggestion on health-related behavior, using a behavioral measure of adherence, were investigated. Three hundred twenty-three students covering the full range of hypnotic suggestibility were prescribed an easy (mood rating) or a difficult (physical activity) task. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a) hypnosis with posthypnotic suggestions to facilitate performance of the assigned task or b) a social request to perform the assigned task. There were significant effects for type of task and hypnosis, revealing that participants adhered significantly more to the easy task and that hypnosis decreased task adherence. Hypnotic suggestibility did not predict adherence, and its interaction with posthypnotic suggestion was not significant. These results suggest that posthypnotic suggestion may decrease adherence rates regardless of participants’ suggestibility level. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent research findings have illustrated that false memories induced in the laboratory can be dissociated from the beliefs that the events had in fact occurred. In this study we assessed whether this dissociability is a quality peculiar to false memory, or whether it represents a general characteristic of autobiographical memory. To this end we examined whether people can be induced to stop believing in memories for true experiences. Participants observed and performed simple actions, and were later falsely informed that they had not performed some of them-that false memories for these actions had been implanted through the use of fabricated evidence. Before and after receiving this misinformation, participants rated their belief in and memory of performing those actions, other actions that they had also performed, and actions that they had not performed. Whereas the misinformation substantially undermined participants' beliefs in the specific performed actions about which they had been misinformed, it had little effect on their endorsement of remembering those actions. The misinformation thus boosted the proportion of occasions in which participants rated their memories as stronger than their beliefs, and it weakened the correlation between belief and memory ratings. Thus, this study provides the first experimental demonstration of non-believed memories of true experiences. We discuss our findings with reference to the small literature concerning the use of socially-communicated misinformation to undermine event memories, and with reference to the structure of autobiographical memory.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metacognitive monitoring and control are two interdependent mechanisms by which people regulate encoding and retrieval processes in memory. While much is known about monitoring, and how the results of monitoring processes affect control at encoding, much less evidence is available for the monitoring–control relationship with respect to the regulation of retrieval. The present study provides information on this point by assessing whether a factor that is known to affect metacognitive monitoring at retrieval, i.e. cue familiarity, affects also metacognitive control at retrieval (i.e. the decision to volunteer or withhold a response in a memory task). In seven experiments cue familiarity was manipulated by having participants make a pleasantness judgment beforehand for half of the critical cues. Results showed that cue familiarity affected not only metacognitive judgments of feeling-of-knowing and retrospective confidence, but also the rate of ‘don’t know’ responses in different recognition tasks. These results demonstrate that a factor known to affect metacognitive monitoring determines also the decision to volunteer or withhold a response (metacognitive control), which in turn shapes participants’ performance in a memory task.
Journal of Memory and Language 10/2013; 69(3). DOI:10.1016/j.jml.2013.04.005 · 4.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of the current study was to determine whether the level of metacognitive sensitivity previously observed in global Judgments-of-Learning (JOLs) in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients could also be established when making item-by-item JOLs. Fourteen TLE patients and 14 control participants were compared on a memory task where 39 semantically unrelated word pairs were presented at three different levels of repetition. Thirteen word pairs were assigned to each level. A combined JOL and Feeling-of-Knowing (FOK) task was used to examine metamemory monitoring and control processes. The results showed that control participants outperformed TLE patients on recall and recognition. However, both groups were sensitive to repetition of the word pairs throughout the list, revealing intact online monitoring and control processes at encoding. These results are consistent with the findings of Howard et al. (2010) of intact metamemory in TLE patients and extend the findings of Andrés et al. (2010) of metamemory sensitivity from the global level to the item-by-item level. Finally, the current findings provide additional evidence of a dissociation between memory and metamemory in TLE patients. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1-10).
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 02/2013; 19(4):1-10. DOI:10.1017/S1355617712001646 · 2.96 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of the plausibility of suggested events in the formation of false autobiographical beliefs and memories has long been debated. In two studies, the shape of the relationship between presuggestion personal plausibility and the development of postsuggestion false beliefs was examined. Participants rated personal plausibility and autobiographical belief for childhood events. They later received a suggestion that an unlikely event occurred during their childhood and provided postsuggestion ratings. The best fit was a curvilinear relationship between plausibility and belief, with the lowest risk for false belief at the plausibility scale floor. Above this threshold, the risk for false belief increased sharply and remained similar across all other levels of plausibility. A minority of those who initially viewed the event as highly implausible showed increased beliefs; this was accompanied by large increases in personal plausibility. We conclude that only extreme implausibility inhibits suggestion-induced false autobiographical beliefs, unless suggestions cause increases in plausibility ratings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 12/2012; 66(4):259-67. DOI:10.1037/a0030017 · 1.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) is the finding of impaired memory performance for information stored in long-term memory due to retrieval of a related set of information. This phenomenon is often assigned to operations of a specialized mechanism recruited to resolve interference during retrieval by deactivating competing memory representations. This inhibitory account is supported by, among others, findings showing that RIF occurs with independent cues not used during retrieval practice. However, these findings are not always consistent. Recently, Norman, Newman, and Detre (2007) have proposed a model that aims at resolving discrepancies concerning cue-independence of RIF. The model predicts that RIF should be present with independent cues when episodic associations are created between independent cues and their targets in the same episodic context that is later used to cue memory during retrieval practice. In the present study we aimed to test this prediction. We associated studied items with semantically unrelated words during the main study phase of the retrieval practice paradigm, and we tested memory with both cues used during retrieval practice (Experiment 2) and episodic associates serving as independent cues (Experiments 3a and 3b). Although RIF was present when the same cues were used during retrieval practice and a final test, contrary to the prediction formulated by Norman et al., RIF failed to emerge when episodic associates were employed as independent cues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Journal of Experimental Psychology Learning Memory and Cognition 10/2012; 39(3). DOI:10.1037/a0030531 · 2.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A controversy in the field of hypnosis has centered on the question of whether there is a uniquely hypnotic state of consciousness and, if so, whether it is causally related to responsiveness to suggestion. Evidence from brain imaging studies has been used to support claims for various altered state hypotheses, without resolving the debate. The designs of many neuroimaging studies confound the induction of hypnosis with the suggestions that can be given in or out of hypnosis, thus rendering them incapable of resolving the controversy. Brain imaging studies that do not have this confound support the hypothesis that hypnotic inductions produce changes in brain activity, but also indicate that these changes are not required for the experience of hypnotic suggestions or their neural correlates. The data remain equivocal as to whether there is a causal relation between the changes in brain activity produced by hypnotic inductions and those produced by other suggestions. It also remains uncertain whether the changes in activation produced by hypnotic inductions reflect a uniquely hypnotic state as opposed to more mundane processes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Memory is prone to illusions. When people are presented with lists of words associated with a non-presented critical lure, they produce a high level of false recognitions (false memories) for non-presented related stimuli indistinguishable, at the explicit level, from presented words (DRM paradigm). We assessed whether true and false DRM memories can be distinguished at the implicit level by using the autobiographical IAT (aIAT), a novel method based on indirect measures that permits to detect true autobiographical events encoded in the respondent's mind/brain. In our experiment, after a DRM task participants performed two aIATs: the first aimed at testing implicit memory for presented words (true-memories aIAT) and the second aimed at evaluating implicit memory for critical lures (false-memories aIAT). Specifically, the two aIATs assessed the association of presented words and critical lures with the logical dimension "true." Results showed that the aIAT detected a greater association of presented words than critical lures with the logical dimension "true." This result indicates that although true and false DRM memories are indistinguishable at the explicit level a different association of the true and false DRM memories with the logical dimension "true" can be detected at the implicit level, and suggests that the aIAT may be a sensitive instrument to detect differences between true and false DRM memories.
Frontiers in Psychology 08/2012; 3:310. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00310 · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A recent study showed that many people spontaneously report vivid memories of events that they do not believe to have occurred . In the present experiment we tested for the first time whether, after powerful false memories have been created, debriefing might leave behind nonbelieved memories for the fake events. In Session 1 participants imitated simple actions, and in Session 2 they saw doctored video-recordings containing clips that falsely suggested they had performed additional (fake) actions. As in earlier studies, this procedure created powerful false memories. In Session 3, participants were debriefed and told that specific actions in the video were not truly performed. Beliefs and memories for all critical actions were tested before and after the debriefing. Results showed that debriefing undermined participants' beliefs in fake actions, but left behind residual memory-like content. These results indicate that debriefing can leave behind vivid false memories which are no longer believed, and thus we demonstrate for the first time that the memory of an event can be experimentally dissociated from the belief in the event's occurrence. These results also confirm that belief in and memory for an event can be independently-occurring constructs.
PLoS ONE 03/2012; 7(3):e32998. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0032998 · 3.23 Impact Factor