Misleading Postevent Information and Memory for Events. Arguments and Evidence Against Memory Impairment Hypotheses

Michael McCloskey, Maria Zaragoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The claim that a person's memory for an event may be altered by information encountered after the event has been influential in shaping current conceptions of memory. The basis for the claim is a series of studies showing that subjects who are given false or misleading information about a previously witnessed event perform more poorly on tests of memory for the event than subjects who are not misled. In this article we argue that the available evidence does not imply that misleading postevent information impairs memory for the original event, because the procedure used in previous studies is inappropriate for assessing effects of misleading information on memory. We then introduce a more appropriate procedure and report six experiments using this procedure. We conclude from the results that misleading postevent information has no effect on memory for the original event. We then review several recent studies that seem to contradict this conclusion, showing that the studies do not pose problems for our position. Finally, we discuss the implications of our conclusions for broader issues concerning memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Volume114
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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