The current study examined four factors that were expected to influence recognition accuracy of previously retrieved events: remoteness of the event, rated emotionality of the event, the type of changes that were made to the original memory report, and the plausibility of these changes. This was done in a study with 33 participants who were tested for recognition accuracy of original and altered reports a year after they had initially reported these autobiographical memories. Participants evaluated original and altered reports as being authentic or not. High recognition accuracy occurred for report evaluations of events that were recent, that contained central changes, and that had higher emotional intensity ratings. Recognition errors were more likely to occur when the original events were remote and when altered reports contained peripheral and plausible changes. These findings demonstrate the vulnerability of recognition accuracy in older adults under difficult retrieval conditions.

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The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Department of Psychology

Dijkstra, K., & Misirlisoy, M. (2009). Recognition accuracy for original and altered verbal memory reports in older adults. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62(2), 248–256. doi:10.1080/17470210802303693