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"It's a hair-dryer...No, it's a drill" Misidentification-related false recognitions in younger and older adults

Vannucci, Manila; Mazzoni, Giuliana; Marchetti, Igor; Lavezzini, Francesca


Manila Vannucci

Giuliana Mazzoni

Igor Marchetti

Francesca Lavezzini


Memory for visual objects, although typically highly accurate, can be distorted, especially in older adults. Here we asked whether also erroneous identifications of visual objects subsequently corrected and replaced by a correct identification might induce false recognitions, and whether this is more likely to occur in older people. For this aim a new paradigm was developed. In the first phase, participants performed a visual object identification task with degraded pictures of objects and produced correct and false but subsequently corrected identifications. In the second phase, participants performed a surprise recognition task in which also false identifications were presented. False identifications elicited false recognitions, with a stronger and more reliable effect in elderly participants, suggesting that correcting the initial visual error is not sufficient to correct the memory for the experience. Moreover, misidentification-related false recognitions coexisted in memory along with correct recognitions of correct identifications. These findings are discussed in relation with age-related deficits in memory updating and strategic retrieval. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Vannucci, M., Mazzoni, G., Marchetti, I., & Lavezzini, F. (2012). "It's a hair-dryer...No, it's a drill" Misidentification-related false recognitions in younger and older adults. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 54(2), 310-316.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 22, 2011
Online Publication Date Aug 25, 2011
Publication Date Mar 1, 2012
Electronic ISSN 1872-6976
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 54
Issue 2
Pages 310-316
Keywords Memory; Aging; False memories; Visual object identification
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