Misremembering what you see or hear: Dissociable effects of modality on short- and long-term false recognition
Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition
False working memories readily emerge using a visual item-recognition variant of the converging associates task. Two experiments, manipulating study and test modality, extended prior working memory results by demonstrating a reliable false recognition effect (more false alarms to associatively related lures than to unrelated lures) within seconds of encoding in either the visual or auditory modality. However, false memories were nearly twice as frequent when study lists were seen than when they
... seen than when they were heard, regardless of test modality, although study-test modality mismatch was generally disadvantageous (consistent with encoding specificity). A final experiment that varied study-test modality using a hybrid short-and long-term memory test (Flegal, Atkins & Reuter-Lorenz, 2010) replicated the auditory advantage in the short term but revealed a reversal in the long term: The false memory effect was greater in the auditory study-test condition than in the visual study-test condition. Thus, the same encoding conditions gave rise to an opposite modality advantage depending on whether recognition was tested under short-term or long-term memory conditions. Although demonstrating continuity in associative processing across delay, the results indicate that delay condition affects the availability of modalitydependent features of the memory trace and, thus, distinctiveness, leading to dissociable patterns of shortand long-term memory performance.