False Memories in Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory Individuals

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol.110, No.52, 2013, pp.20947-20952

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-158

15 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2013 Last revised: 6 Mar 2014

Lawrence Patihis

University of Southern Mississippi

Steven J. Frenda

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

Aurora K. R. LePort

University of California, Irvine

Nicole Petersen

University of California, Los Angeles

Rebecca M. Nichols

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

Craig E.L. Stark

University of California, Irvine

James L. McGaugh

University of California, Irvine

Elizabeth F. Loftus

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior; University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: November 18, 2013

Abstract

The recent identification of highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) raised the possibility that there may be individuals who are immune to memory distortions. We measured HSAM participants’ and age- and sex-matched controls’ susceptibility to false memories using several research paradigms. HSAM participants and controls were both susceptible to false recognition of nonpresented critical lure words in an associative word-list task. In a misinformation task, HSAM participants showed higher overall false memory compared with that of controls for details in a photographic slideshow. HSAM participants were equally as likely as controls to mistakenly report they had seen nonexistent footage of a plane crash. Finding false memories in a superior-memory group suggests that malleable reconstructive mechanisms may be fundamental to episodic remembering. Paradoxically, HSAM individuals may retrieve abundant and accurate autobiographical memories using fallible reconstructive processes.

Suggested Citation

Patihis, Lawrence and Frenda, Steven J. and LePort, Aurora K. R. and Petersen, Nicole and Nichols, Rebecca M. and Stark, Craig E.L. and McGaugh, James L. and Loftus, Elizabeth F., False Memories in Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory Individuals (November 18, 2013). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol.110, No.52, 2013, pp.20947-20952; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-158. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2356675

Lawrence Patihis (Contact Author)

University of Southern Mississippi ( email )

Hattiesburg, MS 39406
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.usm.edu/psychology/faculty/lawrence-patihis

Steven J. Frenda

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

Aurora K. R. LePort

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Nicole Petersen

University of California, Los Angeles ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Rebecca M. Nichols

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

Craig E.L. Stark

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

James L. McGaugh

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Elizabeth F. Loftus

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

University of California, Irvine School of Law

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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