Reported serial positions of true and illusory memories in the Deese/Roediger/McDermott paradigm

Memory. 2016 Aug;24(7):865-83. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1059455. Epub 2015 Aug 14.


One of the easiest ways to induce illusory memories in the laboratory is to use the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) word-list paradigm. Researchers have used this paradigm not only to study people's memories of stimuli that were not actually presented, but also to study the phenomenological qualities of these illusions. In four experiments, the current investigation explored a phenomenological quality of illusory memories that has received almost no attention, specifically, temporality. A serial position task was incorporated into the DRM paradigm to examine temporal attributes of participants' true and false memories. Effects of list strength, presentation order, and types of warnings were examined. Results showed consistent serial position responses for true and false memories. However, only responses for illusory memories were affected by manipulations at study. The current findings thus lend support to encoding-based explanations of false recollections.

Keywords: False memory; Recognition; Serial position.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Repression, Psychology*