Poster Session A, Saturday, March 23, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Creating false memories: Investigating visual recall of multiple exemplars in a single category
Elizabeth H Hall1,2, Wilma A Bainbridge2, Chris I Baker2; 1University of California, Davis, 2National Institute of Mental Health
Recent work has shown that drawings of real-world scenes during free recall contain detailed object and spatial information, with few errors (Bainbridge et al, 2018). However, little is known about the specific detail recalled when episodes are highly similar and competing in memory. The current study probes the nature of errors in competing memories by asking participants to remember multiple exemplars across a single scene category (e.g., office). Participants (n=30) were shown 8 complex real-world scenes (4 from a repeated category, 4 from unique categories), for 10 seconds each, and their eye-movements were recorded. After a distractor task, participants drew as many scenes as they could remember on a digital tablet that recorded timing and stroke order. Participants then completed an old/new recognition task for the original images intermixed with 8 matched foils. Results revealed that participants drew 83.8% of the images across the study, and recognized category-unique images significantly better than repeated category items. Online observers (n=964) used to score recall performance were much better able to match category-unique drawings to their original studied images than repeated category drawings, implicating more inaccurate information in competing memories. Furthermore, when looking at the detail in the drawings, 25.6% of the drawings contained inaccurate information, with significantly more intrusion errors in repeated category drawings than the category-unique drawings. Overall, these results suggest the difficulty in accurately retaining and recalling multiple complex representations of a single category, and show the nature of intrusions that can occur with competing memories.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic