Psychology ETDs

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Four experiments extended the false memory research by investigating false memory performance at the individual level (e.g., Stevens, unpublished Masters Thesis, 2006). The experiments used the DRM paradigm which presents lists of associated studied words (e.g., hot, winter) and then tests whether nonpresented theme word(s) (e.g., cold) is (are) falsely remembered. Previous research (e.g., fuzzy-trace theory) has proposed that the semantic relationships between words on the DRM lists are influential in false memory performance. In the experiments, each participant rated the semantic relatedness of word pairs drawn from associated sets. The first experiment investigated whether participants' semantic ratings would predict their false memory performance. For the other three experiments, the ratings were later used in the study-test procedure, such that the theme words on the recognition test were preceded by words either deemed strongly related or weakly related to the theme word. The final experiment also explored whether creating study lists from semantic ratings influenced false memory. The results, expected to support the fuzzy-trace theory of false memory, provided more support for the activation/monitoring theory.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Goldsmith, Timothy

Second Committee Member

Ruthruff, Eric

Third Committee Member

Hutchison, Keith

Fourth Committee Member

Matzen, Laura




False memory syndrome, Semantic memory, Word recognition.

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