Introduction: Psychotic patients are impaired on recall and recognition of studied items (true memory) and typically make more false recall (intrusions) and false recognition than controls, reflecting greater susceptibility to false memory. The functional mechanisms underlying these deficits are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine recollection and familiarity in true and false memory in psychotic adolescents without long-term exposure to medication and repeated hospitalisations.
Methods: Seventeen adolescents with psychosis and 17 matched controls were tested on a DRM false memory paradigm combined with a remember (R)/know (K)/guess (G) procedure. Recall and recognition of targets (studied words), critical lures (associated words) and unrelated distractors were measured. Between-group comparisons were made using t-tests and mixed ANOVAs. Independent estimates for recollection and familiarity were also calculated.
Results: True memory was impaired in patients. Similar rates of false memory for critical lures were found in both groups. False memory for unrelated distractors was increased in patients. Contrary to controls, who attributed more R and K responses to targets than lures, patients attributed similar proportions of R and K responses to targets and lures. Furthermore, patients attributed more K responses than controls to all distractors.
Conclusions: These findings suggest a deficit in recollection- and familiarity-based memory in psychotic adolescents as well as reliance on preserved gist or meaning-based memory to support poor item-specific memory.