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Individual differences in susceptibility to false memories: The effect of memory specificity

Dewhurst, Stephen A.; Anderson, Rachel J.; Berry, Donna M.; Garner, Sarah R.


Dr Rachel Anderson
Reader/Programme Director Psychology PG Research (PhD, MSc by Research, MRes)

Donna M. Berry

Sarah R. Garner


Previous research has highlighted the wide individual variability in susceptibility to the false memories produced by the Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) procedure [Deese, J. (1959). On the prediction of occurrence of particular verbal intrusions in immediate recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58, 17–22; Roediger, H. L., III, & McDermott, K. B. (1995). Creating false memories: Remembering words not presented in lists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 21, 803–814]. The current study investigated whether susceptibility to false memories is influenced by individual differences in the specificity of autobiographical memory retrieval. Memory specificity was measured using the Sentence Completion for Events from the Past Test (SCEPT) [Raes, F., Hermans, D., Williams, J. M. G., & Eelen, P. (2007). A sentence completion procedure as an alternative to the Autobiographical Memory Test for assessing overgeneral memory in non-clinical populations. Memory, 15, 495-507]. Memory specificity did not correlate with correct recognition, but a specific retrieval style was positively correlated with levels of false recognition. It is proposed that the contextual details that frequently accompany false memories of nonstudied lures are more accessible in individuals with specific retrieval styles.


Dewhurst, S. A., Anderson, R. J., Berry, D. M., & Garner, S. R. (2018). Individual differences in susceptibility to false memories: The effect of memory specificity. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(7), 1637-1644.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 12, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 1, 2018
Publication Date Jul 1, 2018
Deposit Date Jun 12, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jun 28, 2018
Journal Quarterly journal of experimental psychology
Print ISSN 1747-0218
Electronic ISSN 1747-0226
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 71
Issue 7
Pages 1637-1644
Keywords False memories; Autobiographical memory specificity; Individual differences
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2018 University of Hull
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in Quarterly journal of experimental psychology, 2018. The version of record is available at the DOI link in this record.


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