Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Schema Provoke False Knowing Even When Schema-Consistent Targets Had Not Been Presented

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Schema Provoke False Knowing Even When Schema-Consistent Targets Had Not Been Presented

Article excerpt


Human memory is not always an accurate record of experienced events. Information that has never been experienced but is consistent with a relevant schema is sometimes mistaken as memory, giving rise to false memories. In this study, we focused on whether schema can provoke false memory for actions and for objects even when schema-consistent targets had not been presented. We presented schema-inconsistent actions and schema-inconsistent objects in a slide sequence depicting a kitchen. Later, we administered an old/new recognition test with remember/know judgments and Perception/Thought/Emotion/Context ratings for schema-inconsistent targets, schema-consistent distracters, and schema-inconsistent distracters. Both for the actions and the objects, participants more often falsely recognized schema-consistent distracters than schema-inconsistent distracters. That is, memory can be reconstructed along the scene schema, provoking false memory. However, these false memories were not typically accompanied by "remember" judgments but rather by "know" judgments. The similarity between schema-consistent targets and schema-consistent distracters is an essential factor for false recollection.

Keywords: everyday scene, false memory, Perception/Thought/Emotion/Context questionnaire, remember/know judgment, schema

1. Introduction

1.1 Previous Studies

Humans organize memory into their knowledge for particular scenes or situations, what Bartlett (1932) termed "schema." A large number of previous studies reported that information that had not been experienced on a particular scene but is consistent with the schema of the scene is sometimes falsely remembered as having been experienced in that scene. When after studying a familiar scene participants are given a recognition memory test, they more often falsely recognized schema-consistent distracters than schema-inconsistent distracters (Graesser, Gordon, & Sawyer, 1979; Graesser, Woll, Kowalski, & Smith, 1980; Lampinen, Copeland, & Neuschatz, 2001; Lampinen, Faries, Neuschatz, & Toglia, 2000; Nakamura, Graesser, Zimmerman, & Riha, 1985; Neuschatz, Lampinen, Preston, Hawkins, & Toglia, 2002; Pezdek, Whetstone, Reynolds, Askari, & Dougherty, 1989; Yamada & Itsukushima, 2013a). In order to explain such false recognition for schema-consistent distracters, Graesser and his colleagues suggested the schema-copy-plus-tag model (Graesser et al., 1979; Graesser et al., 1980; Graesser, Kassler, Kreuz, & McLain-Allen, 1998; Nakamura et al., 1985; Nakamura & Graesser, 1985). The schema-copy-plus-tag model claims that when participants experience an event, they activate the schema of the event in order to comprehend the event. This leads them to elaborate schema-inconsistent targets in an explicit way because the schema clashes with these targets. In contrast, schema-consistent targets are unlikely to be elaborated. Furthermore, the model claims that memory is reconstructed based on the schema of the scene and that participants therefore have difficulty discriminating schema-consistent targets from schema-consistent distracters on the test.

A substantial number of published studies have explored the subjective phenomenology of false memories. Some of these studies used a remember/know judgment procedure (e.g., Payne, Elie, Blackwell, & Neuschatz, 1996).

The remember/know judgment was introduced by Tulving (1985) as a procedure to examining subjective experience, and developed by Gardiner (1988) and Rajaram (1993, 1996). In this procedure, participants are required to make "remember" judgment when they recollect the details for the recognized item, and to make "know" when the recognized item is familiar but no details of the studiy-list encounter with the item are recollected. Other studies have asked subjects to rate the characteristics of their memories on various dimensions, such as the extent to which they recollect perceptual details, their thoughts and emotions, and/or the context in which the item was recollected (Lampinen et al. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.