Schema Provoke False Knowing Even When Schema-Consistent Targets Had Not Been Presented

Ryoma Yamada, Yukio Itsukushima, Tanjeem Azad, D. Stephen Lindsay


Human memory is not always an accurate record of experienced events. Information that has never been
experienced but is consistent with a relevant schema is sometimes mistaken as memory, giving rise to false
memories. In this study, we focused on whether schema can provoke false memory for actions and for objects
even when schema-consistent targets had not been presented. We presented schema-inconsistent actions and
schema-inconsistent objects in a slide sequence depicting a kitchen. Later, we administered an old/new
recognition test with remember/know judgments and Perception/Thought/Emotion/Context ratings for
schema-inconsistent targets, schema-consistent distracters, and schema-inconsistent distracters. Both for the
actions and the objects, participants more often falsely recognized schema-consistent distracters than
schema-inconsistent distracters. That is, memory can be reconstructed along the scene schema, provoking false
memory. However, these false memories were not typically accompanied by “remember” judgments but rather
by “know” judgments. The similarity between schema-consistent targets and schema-consistent distracters is an
essential factor for false recollection.

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International Journal of Psychological Studies   ISSN 1918-7211 (Print)   ISSN 1918-722X (Online)

Copyright © Canadian Center of Science and Education


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