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.