False memory ≠ false memory: DRM errors are unrelated to the misinformation effect

James Ost, Hartmut Blank, J. Davies, Georgina Jones, K. Lambert, K. Salmon

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The DRM method has proved to be a popular and powerful, if controversial, way to study ‘false memories’. One reason for the controversy is that the extent to which the DRM effect generalises to other kinds of memory error has been neither satisfactorily established nor subject to much empirical attention. In the present paper we contribute data to this ongoing debate. One hundred and twenty participants took part in a standard misinformation effect experiment, in which they watched some CCTV footage, were exposed to misleading post-event information about events depicted in the footage, and then completed free recall and recognition tests. Participants also completed a DRM test as an ostensibly unrelated filler task. Despite obtaining robust misinformation and DRM effects, there were no correlations between a broad range of misinformation and DRM effect measures (mean r = −.01). This was not due to reliability issues with our measures or a lack of power. Thus DRM ‘false memories’ and misinformation effect ‘false memories’ do not appear to be equivalent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e57939
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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