The Effect of Verbal Fluency on False Memories in Adults




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A common technique for investigating false memory production is using the Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. The DRM paradigm provides a list of words that are all associatively related to a common non-listed word (i.e., a critical lure). When individuals are given a word list, they remember items from the list and reliably remember the critical lure as if it were presented. Findings have also shown that children demonstrate lower levels of false recognition, which may be due to less activation of critical lures that is presumably due to them having a less developed associative network. The current study evaluated if a similar pattern would emerge in adults with lower levels of verbal fluency. We hypothesized that individuals with higher verbal fluency would have greater activation of critical lures, producing more false memories, whereas participants with lower verbal ability would show fewer false memories. Participants’ verbal fluency was assessed using the COWAT and their memory was assessed using the DRM paradigm. Participants were divided into high or low verbal fluency groups based on their COWAT scores and their rates of false memories were compared. Data showed that participants low in verbal fluency recognized fewer critical lures than participants with higher verbal fluency.



DRM paradigm, Critical Lures, Verbal Fluency


Payne, Amberley, Jaque, Alexandra, Springs, Ryan, and Ithil, Mary. (2023, Sep 26). The Effect of Verbal Fluency on False Memories in Adults. Poster presented at ORSP Scholarly Innovation Summit, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville TX.