False memory tasks do not reliably predict other false memories

Lawrence Patihis*, Steven J. Frenda, Elizabeth F. Loftus

*Corresponding author for this work

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Several laboratory techniques have been developed over the last few decades that reliably produce memory distortions. However, it is unclear whether false memory production in one experimental paradigm will predict susceptibility to false memories in other paradigms. In Experiment 1, 202 undergraduates participated in a misinformation experiment and semiautobiographical tasks involving three measures of memory distortion (suggestion, imagination, emotion). We established high internal consistency in individual differences measures and statistically significant experimental effects where we would expect them (e.g., the misinformation effect). However, false memory production in one task did not predict false memories in other paradigms. In Experiment 2, 163 adults participated in a misinformation experiment, a false memory word list task (Deese-Roediger-McDermott), and semiautobiographical false news story tasks. Again we found no consistent predictive relationships among various false memories. In both studies, no individual differences predicted memory distortion susceptibility consistently across tasks and across experiments. At this time, false memory production in a given laboratory task does not appear to adequately predict false memories in other tasks, a finding with implications for using these tasks to predict memory distortion in real world situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-160
Number of pages21
JournalPsychology of Consciousness: Theory Research, and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Crashing memory
  • DRM
  • False memory
  • Memory distortion
  • Misinformation


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