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Encoding context and false recognition memories

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False recognition of an extralist word that is thematically related to all words of a study list may reflect internal activation of the theme word during encoding followed by impaired source monitoring at retrieval, that is, difficulty in determining whether the word had actually been experienced or merely thought of. To assist source monitoring, distinctive visual or verbal contexts were added to study words at input. Both types of context produced similar effects: False alarms to theme-word (critical) lures were reduced; remember judgements of critical lures called old were lower; and if contextual information had been added to lists, subjects indicated as much for list items and associated critical foils identified as old. The visual and verbal contexts used in the present studies were held to disrupt semantic categorisation of list words at input and to facilitate source monitoring at output.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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