Working memory differences in illusory recollection of critical lures

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

Memory and Cognition


In the present experiments, we explored the relationship between individual differences in working memory (WM) capacity and susceptibility to false recognitions and their accompanying subjective experiences. Deese/Roediger– McDermott (DRM) associative lists were used to elicit false memories, and remember/know judgments were used to measure the recollective experiences accompanying recognition decisions. We found that WM capacity was related to false recognitions of nonpresented critical lures and to the proportion of remember responses given to critical lures, such that higher WM capacity was associated with lower false recognition rates and with lower proportions of remember responses. Importantly, these WM differences were only found when participants were forewarned about the nature of the DRM task prior to encoding (Exp. 1). When the forewarning was absent, WM capacity was not related to false recognitions or to the proportion of remember responses given to critical lures (Exp. 2). These results support the controlled attention view of WM and suggest that subjective experiences of falsely recognized lures fluctuate as a function of WM capacity.