Research Paper

The Impact of Semantic Content of the Words on False Memories

Author: Daniela Cătălina Stanciu & Cristina Vicol
Titu Maiorescu University, Bucharest, Romania

Starting from the false memories paradigm proposed by Deese in 1959 and revised by Roediger and McDermott (1995), this paper studies the relationship between the semantic content of the words and the percentage of false memories.

The 45 Romanian participants (Mage = 31.60; SD = 9.23) included in this study were given consecutively two lists of words: the first one comprised 14 words belonging to the same semantic area, while the second one comprised the initial words plus 8 distractor words that were either semantically associated with the ones from the first list (the experimental condition), either semantically different from it (control condition). Their task was to identify the words on the second list that were also part of the initial list.

The obtained results did not support the main hypothesis of this study according to which there was expected to result a significant positive correlation between semantic association of the words and the false memories occurrence (χ2 = .27, p > .05). Therefore, further research that takes into account the limitations of the present study, is recommended in order to examine more thoroughly this issue.

Keywords: false memories, semantic association, individual differences