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Effects of divided attention and word concreteness on correct recall and false memory reports

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Lists of thematically related words were presented to participants with or without a concurrent task. In Experiments 1 and 2, respectively, English or Spanish word lists were either low or high in concreteness (concrete vs abstract words) and were presented, respectively, auditorily or visually for study. The addition of a concurrent visual or auditory task, respectively, substantially reduced correct recall and doubled the frequency of false memory reports (nonstudied critical or theme words). Divided attention was interpreted as having reduced the opportunity for participants to monitor successfully their elicitations of critical associates. Comparisons of concrete and abstract lists revealed significantly more recalls of false memories for abstract than concrete word lists. Comparisons between two levels of attention, two levels of word concreteness, and two presentation modalities failed to support the "more is less" effect by which enhanced correct recall is accompanied by increased frequencies of false memories.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain 2: University Of Victoria, Canada

Publication date: May 1, 2002

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