Participants studied lists of nonwords (e.g., froost, floost, stoost, etc.) that were orthographic-phonologically similar to a nonpresented critical lure, which was also a nonword (e.g., ploost). Experiment 1 showed a high level of false recognition for the critical lure. Experiment 2 showed that the false recognition effect was also present for forewarned participants who were informed about the nature of the false recognition effect and told to avoid making false recognition judgments. The present results show that false recognition effects can be obtained even when the critical lure itself is not stored during study. This finding is problematic for accounts that attribute false memories to implicit associative responses or spreading activation but is easily explained by global familiarity models of recognition memory.

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Consciousness and Cognition
Department of Psychology

Zeelenberg, R., Boot, I., & Pecher, D. (2005). Activating the critical lure during study is unnecessary for false recognition. Consciousness and Cognition, 14(2), 316–326. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2004.08.004