Maryanne Garry

Maryanne Garry
The University of Waikato

About

111
Publications
62,214
Reads
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3,857
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 1996 - present
Victoria University of Wellington
Position
  • Professor
August 1992 - February 1996
University of Washington
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
August 1987 - January 1993
University of Connecticut
Field of study
  • Cognition and Instruction

Publications

Publications (111)
Article
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Ross (in press) argued that false memory researchers misunderstand the concepts of repression and dissociation, as well as the writings of Freud. In this commentary, we show that Ross is wrong. He oversimplifies and misrepresents the literature on repressed and false memory. We rebut Ross by showing the fallacies underlying his arguments. For examp...
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People can come to “remember” experiences they never had, and these false memories—much like memories for real experiences—can serve a variety of helpful and harmful functions. Sometimes, though, people realize one of their memories is false, and retract their belief in it. These “retracted memories” continue to have many of the same phenomenologic...
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Autobiographical remembering is a dynamic process in which narrators construct their life story from single memories. What is included in or deleted from the life story depends on many factors. Here, we examined the functions, emotions and correspondence with the life script for the memories that people desire to save or erase from their past. We a...
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Some research suggests people are overconfident because of personality characteristics, lack of insight, or because overconfidence is beneficial in its own right. But other research fits with the possibility that fluent experience in the moment can rapidly drive overconfidence. For example, fluency can push people to become overconfident in their a...
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There is contention in the scientific literature about the coherence of people’s memories for trauma: Sometimes, traumatic memories are rated as less coherent than nontraumatic memories; other times, they “look” very similar. But several methodological challenges invite counter-explanations that hinder the interpretation of these findings. We set o...
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People often talk about the consequences of their negative experiences with others in ways that serve important social functions. But to fully understand this social function, it is vital to understand how listeners appraise the event being shared with them. We hypothesized people might draw on the consequences of others’ events to appraise what th...
Article
In the battle for control of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), we have few weapons. Yet contact tracing is among the most powerful. Contact tracing is the process by which public-health officials identify people, or contacts, who have been exposed to a person infected with a pathogen or another hazard. For all its power, though, contact tracing yi...
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People’s memories for traumatic experiences supposedly lack “coherence.” Yet scientific evidence does not conclusively support these claims—instead, the evidence is mixed. We hypothesized this mixed evidence occurs because coherence is not a stable property of an individual memory, and is sensitive to momentary attributions depending on how that me...
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Scientists working at the intersection of cognitive psychology and education have developed theoretically-grounded methods to help people learn. One important yet counterintuitive finding is that making information harder to learn – that is, creating desirable difficulties – benefits learners. Some studies suggest that simply presenting information...
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Autobiographical memories are said to serve at least three functions: they direct people’s behaviour, inform their identity, and facilitate social bonding and communication. But much of the research on these three functions has not distinguished between memories that serve functions in adaptive ways from those that serve functions in maladaptive wa...
Article
Our memories can come to mind either voluntarily—after we intended to retrieve them—or, involuntarily—without our intent. Studies often rely upon subjects themselves to classify their memories as voluntary or involuntary. But how well do subjects perform this task? There is reason to suspect that subjects sometimes base these classifications of int...
Article
Background: Suggestive techniques can distort eyewitness memory (Wells & Loftus, 2003, Eyewitness memory for people and events. In A. M. Goldstein (Ed.), Handbook of psychology: Forensic Psychology, Vol. 11 (pp. 149–160). Hoboken, NY: John Wiley & Sons Inc). Recently, we found that suggestion is unnecessary: Simply reversing the arrangement of ques...
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Students are requesting and professors issuing trigger warnings—content warnings cautioning that college course material may cause distress. Trigger warnings are meant to alleviate distress students may otherwise experience, but multiple lines of research suggest trigger warnings could either increase or decrease symptoms of distress. We examined h...
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Passwords might unlock more than our computer accounts. A New York Times Magazine described anecdotes of people who infused their passwords with autobiographical information [Urbina, I. (2014, November 20). The Secret Life of Passwords. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/magazine/the-secret-life-of-passwords.html]. We...
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When people in laboratory studies sample products in a sequence, they tend to prefer options presented first and last. To what extent do these primacy and recency effects carry over to real-world settings where numerous sources of information determine preferences? To investigate this question, we coded archival data from 136 actual whisky tastings...
Article
People can mentally travel to the future to "prelive" events they might experience. This ability to mentally prelive future events is closely related to the ability to mentally relive past events. People report traveling back in time to relive experiences that happened in their past in order to direct their behavior in the present, so people may im...
Article
People depend on various sources of information when trying to verify their autobiographical memories. Yet recent research shows that people prefer to use cheap-and-easy verification strategies, even when these strategies are not reliable. We examined the robustness of this cheap strategy bias, with scenarios designed to encourage greater emphasis...
Article
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For 20 years, scientists have created a range of false autobiographical memories using the “Lost in the mall” paradigm. Recently Shaw and Porter (2015) suggested to adults that, as adolescents, they had committed a crime resulting in a brush with police. Their finding that 70% constructed "ʺrich false memories” is markedly outside the central tende...
Article
To what extent can photos influence people's evaluations of their own knowledge? For example, can photos affect how well people think they understand processes? To answer this question, in six experiments we asked people to indicate how well they understood various processes (such as how rainbows form). Sometimes the processes that were described a...
Article
Research shows that when semantic context makes it feel easier for people to bring related thoughts and images to mind, people can misinterpret that feeling of ease as evidence that information is positive. But research also shows that semantic context does more than help people bring known concepts to mind—it also teaches people new concepts. In f...
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Brewin and Andrews (2016) propose that just 15% of people, or even fewer, are susceptible to false childhood memories. If this figure were true, then false memories would still be a serious problem. But the figure is higher than 15%. False memories occur even after a few short and low-pressure interviews, and with each successive interview they bec...
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Photos lead people to believe that both true and false events have happened to them, even when those photos provide no evidence that the events occurred. Research has shown that these nonprobative photos increase false beliefs when combined with misleading suggestions and repeated exposure to the photo or target event. We propose that photos exert...
Article
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When people rapidly judge the truth of claims about the present or the past, a related but nonprobative photo can produce “truthiness,” an increase in the perceived truth of those claims (Newman, Garry, Bernstein, Kantner, & Lindsay, 2012). What we do not know is the extent to which nonprobative photos cause truthiness for the future. We addressed...
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Eyewitnesses play an important role in the justice system. But suggestive questioning can distort eyewitness memory and confidence, and these distorted beliefs influence jurors (Loftus, Learning & Memory, 12, 361-366, 2005; Penrod & Culter, Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 1, 817-845, 1995). Recent research, however, hints that suggestion is not...
Article
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When people rapidly judge the truth of claims presented with or without related but nonprobative photos, the photos tend to inflate the subjective truth of those claims-a "truthiness" effect (Newman et al., 2012). For example, people more often judged the claim "Macadamia nuts are in the same evolutionary family as peaches" to be true when the clai...
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Do you have many regrets from last year? To answer that question, you might start searching your memory and accumulating evidence. But your answer might not depend on how many regrets you remember. Instead, it might depend on how easy it feels to remember them. People often think that they have a larger pool of experiences to sample from when remem...
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Trying to remember something now typically improves your ability to remember it later. However, after watching a video of a simulated bank robbery, participants who verbally described the robber were 25% worse at identifying the robber in a lineup than were participants who instead listed U.S. states and capitals—this has been termed the “verbal ov...
Article
Trying to remember something now typically improves your ability to remember it later. However, after watching a video of a simulated bank robbery, participants who verbally described the robber were 25% worse at identifying the robber in a lineup than were participants who instead listed U.S. states and capitals—this has been termed the “verbal ov...
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Dalenberg et al. (2012) argued that convincing evidence (a) supports the longstanding trauma model (TM), which posits that early trauma plays a key role in the genesis of dissociation; and (b) refutes the fantasy model (FM), which posits that fantasy proneness, suggestibility, cognitive failures, and other variables foster dissociation. We review e...
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When people make judgments about the truth of a claim, related but nonprobative information rapidly leads them to believe the claim-an effect called "truthiness" [1]. Would the pronounceability of others' names also influence the truthiness of claims attributed to them? We replicated previous work by asking subjects to evaluate people's names on a...
Article
Because memories are not always accurate, people rely on a variety of strategies to verify whether the events that they remember really did occur. Several studies have examined which strategies people tend to use, but none to date has asked why people opt for certain strategies over others. Here we examined the extent to which people's beliefs abou...
Article
When making rapid judgments about the truth of a claim, related nonprobative information leads people to believe the claim-an effect called "truthiness" (Newman, Garry, Bernstein, Kantner, & Lindsay, 2012). For instance, within a matter of seconds, subjects judge the claim "The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows," to be true more often when it appears with...
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Recent changes to the law in New Zealand have led to a marked increase in experts being called to give evidence in cases of alleged child sexual abuse. Here we outline some of the common misconceptions that are held by expert witnesses in these cases and we review research on patterns of abuse disclosure and retraction, symptoms of abuse, external...
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The persuasive power of brain images has captivated scholars in many disciplines. Like others, we too were intrigued by the finding that a brain image makes accompanying information more credible (McCabe & Castel in Cognition 107:343-352, 2008). But when our attempts to build on this effect failed, we instead ran a series of systematic replications...
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When people discuss their experiences, they can later report seeing things that they never saw, simply because they heard about those things in the discussion. One factor that may contribute to this effect is the order in which people speak; some research has investigated this issue, but it remains unclear whether a relationship exists between memo...
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When people evaluate claims, they often rely on what comedian Stephen Colbert calls "truthiness," or subjective feelings of truth. In four experiments, we examined the impact of nonprobative information on truthiness. In Experiments 1A and 1B, people saw familiar and unfamiliar celebrity names and, for each, quickly responded "true" or "false" to t...
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Deliberate and nondeliberate suggestions can influence cognitions and behaviors in surprising ways. Sometimes suggestions are helpful and improve our cognitions and behaviors, but at other times they are harmful. Suggestions can create response expectancies: the myriad ways in which we anticipate responding automatically to various situations. In t...
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People can come to remember doing things they have never done. The question we asked in this study is whether people can systematically come to remember performing actions they never really did, in the absence of any suggestion from the experimenter. People built LEGO vehicles, performing some steps but not others. For half the people, all the piec...
Article
In the present study, we examined whether the presentation of postevent cues would bias recognition in a visual delayed matching-to-sample task with pigeons. Postevent cues were either consistent with the original target stimulus (i.e., they were the same as the correct choice option at recognition), inconsistent (i.e., they were the same as the in...
Article
Are claims more credible when made by multiple sources, or is it the repetition of claims that matters? Some research suggests that claims have more credibility when independent sources make them. Yet, other research suggests that simply repeating information makes it more accessible and encourages reliance on automatic processes-factors known to c...
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It is widely understood among scientists and criminal and civil lawyers that eyewitnesses are often inaccurate, and that inaccurate information can contaminate memories of other eyewitnesses. It is less widely known—although no less true—that when misleading claims are repeated, they are more likely to damage other people’s memories than when those...
Article
The beliefs that people have about memory and how it works drive the way in which they remember as well as the decisions that they make when judging other people's memories. This chapter challenges the notion that memory is permanent by presenting evidence that when people remember experiences, they often incorporate new information or interpret th...
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The misinformation effect is a term used in the cognitive psychological literature to describe both experimental and real-world instances in which misleading information is incorporated into an account of an historical event. In many real-world situations, it is not possible to identify a distinct source of misinformation, and it appears that the w...
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Every day, people rely on prospective memory--our ability to remember to perform a future action--to carry out myriad tasks. We examined how a sham cognitive enhancing drug might improve people's performance on a prospective memory task. We gave some people (but not others) the sham drug, and asked everyone to perform a high-effort prospective memo...
Article
People remember different details about the same events, and when they discuss events they exchange new - and misleading - information. Discussion can change memory, especially when the source of new information is highly credible. But we do not know whether the effects of credibility are based on absolute judgments - judging a source's credibility...
Article
What is the effect on memory when seemingly innocuous photos accompany false reports of the news? We asked people to read news headlines of world events, some of which were false. Half the headlines appeared with photographs that were tangentially related to the event; others were presented without photographs. People saw each headline only once, a...
Article
When people see movies with some parts missing, they falsely recognize many of the missing parts later. In two experiments, we examined the effect of warnings on people's false memories for these parts. In Experiment 1, warning subjects about false recognition before the movie (forewarnings) reduced false recognition, but warning them after the mov...
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When people receive descriptions or doctored photos of events that never happened, they often come to remember those events. But if people receive both a description and a doctored photo, does the order in which they receive the information matter? We asked people to consider a description and a doctored photograph of a childhood hot air balloon ri...
Article
When people take drugs such as propranolol in response to trauma, it may dampen their bad memories – tempering recall of a traumatic event. We examined people's attitudes toward these drugs. Americans and New Zealanders read about a hypothetical assault inserting themselves into a scenario as a victim attacked while serving on a peace keeping missi...
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The MORI technique provides a unique way to research social influences on memory. The technique allows people to watch different movies on the same screen at the same time without realizing that each of them sees something different. As a result, researchers can create a situation in which people feel as though they share an experience, but systema...
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Defined in hazy terms by Freud and bereft of attention for a century afterwards, the concept of repression suddenly gained public prominence in the 1980s, at the same time that child sexual abuse (CSA) was finally achieving widespread recognition as an important societal problem. However, despite its public and therapeutic popularity, a convincing...
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We exposed college students to suggestive materials in order to lead them to believe that, as children, they had a negative experience at Disneyland involving the Pluto character. A sizable minority of subjects developed a false belief or memory that Pluto had uncomfortably licked their ear. Suggestions about a positive experience with Pluto led to...
Article
This chapter discusses research that shows how normal everyday people can come to produce confabulations. It argues that false memories can be considered to be a subset of the phenomena of confabulation: people confidently claiming to have had certain experiences that they never had. It describes research showing that false memories are an inevitab...
Article
In the twentieth century, the notion of repression wormed its way deep into western culture. How? Many scholars point to Freud. Yet Freud was maddeningly vague about repression: As Crews (1995) has long noted, Freud could not decide if what becomes repressed were real events or merely fantasies, or if the repression mechanism operates consciously o...
Article
We examined the effect of photographs on children's memories for events that did and did not happen. Over three interviews, 10-year olds saw three true photos and one false photo. Half the children saw a doctored photo of themselves and other family members in a hot air balloon, while the remaining half saw only the hot air balloon. At each intervi...
Article
A psychotropic placebo can help people resist the misinformation effect, an effect thought to be caused by a shift to more stringent source monitoring. When this shift occurs has been unclear. To address this issue we gave some people - but not others - a phoney cognitive-enhancing drug we called R273. Shortly afterwards, everyone took part in a mi...
Article
Researchers studying memory conformity have made significant advances in our understanding of the phenomenon, but have used methods with significant shortcomings. Mori's three-stage method addresses many of these concerns. To date the technique has not been replicated on a Western sample. We present such a study, and discuss two significant improve...
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Research on memory conformity shows that collaborative remembering--typically in the form of discussion--can influence people's memories. One question that remains is whether it matters with whom we discuss our memories. To address this question we compared people's memories for an event after they discussed that event with either their romantic pa...
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To examine people's false memories for end-of-life decisions. In Study 1, older adults decided which life-sustaining treatments they would want if they were seriously ill. They made these judgments twice, approximately 12 months apart. At Time 2, older adults and their self-selected surrogate decision makers tried to recall the older adults' Time 1...
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Chronic and temporarily aggressive people show a phenomenon known as the hostile attribution bias (HAB), in which access to hostile schemas leads them to interpret ambiguously hostile information in a hostile way. Can these people also be induced to remember unambiguously hostile, yet completely false information? To address this question, we inves...
Article
In this experiment, we ask whether photographs can lead to false memories for elements of a newspaper story. Participants played the role of a newspaper editor, identifying minor typographical errors in three newspaper articles and marking the text where they thought an accompanying photo should be placed when the story was printed. The critical ar...
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Recently, Gerrie, Belcher, and Garry (2006) found that, when participants watch an event with parts missing, they falsely claim to have seen the missing parts--but they were more likely to claim they had seen less crucial parts than more crucial parts. Their results fit with a source-monitoring framework (SMF; Johnson, Hashtroudi, & Lindsay, 1993)...
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Pezdek and Lam [Pezdek, K. & Lam, S. (2007). What research paradigms have cognitive psychologists used to study "False memory," and what are the implications of these choices? Consciousness and Cognition] claim that the majority of research into false memories has been misguided. Specifically, they charge that false memory scientists have been (1)...
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Can a placebo for a psychotropic drug help participants resist the misinformation effect? To answer this question, we gave participants a mixture of baking soda and water and told half of them that the mixture was a cognition-enhancing drug called R273 and told the other half that it was an inactive version of the drug. Shortly thereafter, all part...
Chapter
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Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, numerous scientific papers on children's eyewitness testimony hooked their audiences in with descriptions of high profile sexual abuse cases. The cases were horrific and created panic throughout communities. In the end, it became clear that many of the cases developed because overzealous investigative interviewers we...
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In this paper we ask how the plausibility of an event affects the likelihood that children will develop a false memory for it. Over three interviews 6-year-olds and 10-year-olds were shown two true photos and two false photos-a plausible and less plausible event-and reported what they could remember about those events. Children also rated their con...
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The forgetting and remembering phenomena that Erdelyi outlines here have little to do with the concept of repression. None of the research that he describes shows that it is possible for people to repress (and then recover) memories for entire, significant, and potentially emotion-laden events. In the absence of scientific evidence, we continue to...
Article
Although people often reminisce about their past experiences, little research has assessed how discussion might influence people's autobiographical memories. There were two major aims to this study: first, to assess how adults' memories for genuine childhood experiences might be affected by discussion, and second, to extend research on false memori...
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Numerous eyewitness testimony studies have shown that people can falsely remember parts of an event after being exposed to misleading suggestion about it (Loftus, Miller, & Burns, 1978); however, few researchers have examined whether people falsely remember parts of an event when there is no such suggestion. Across two studies, we show that people...
Article
Researchers studying the misinformation effect tend to present the event in one of two formats: slides or video. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Videos capture much more information than slides, but slides permit easy counterbalancing of event details. We capitalised on digital technology to create a misinformation event that resolves...
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Concern about plagiarism by students from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB) has grown apace with the increased numbers of international students attending western institutions. We present an exploration of student attitudes, perceptions and understandings of intellectual property, particularly plagiarism and copyright, and explore potential d...
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In this commentary, the authors discuss the implications of A. S. Green, E. Rafaeli, N. Bolger, P. E. Shrout, and H. T. Reis's (2006) diary studies with respect to memory. Researchers must take 2 issues into account when determining whether paper-and-pencil or handheld electronic diaries gather more trustworthy data. The first issue is a matter of...