False memories for pictures and directed forgetting

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Towson University. Department of Psychology
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A false memory is a memory for an event that never actually occurred. Although false memories for pictures are usually difficult to find results for, Weinstein and Shanks (2010) found high levels of false memories for pictures when participants were asked to imagine an object during an intervening period between study and test. The current study introduced directed forgetting to this procedure. In directed forgetting, participants study material and are then instructed forget some of the material. In this study, participants studied a set of pictures, imagined words, and then received instructions to remember or forget the list. They then studied a second set of items and were given a recognition test. No effect of directed forgetting was found, and false memories for imagined items were only found for the second of set of items when participants received remember instructions. Explanations and suggestions for future research are discussed.