Misinformation effects in recall: Creating false memories through repeated retrieval

Henry L. Roediger, J. Derek Jacoby, Kathleen B. McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


In two experiments subjects viewed slides depicting a crime and then received a narrative containing misleading information about some items in the slides. Recall instructions were manipulated on a first test to vary the probability that subjects would produce details from the narrative that conflicted with details from the slides. Two days later subjects returned and took a second cued recall test on which they were instructed to respond only if they were sure they had seen the item in the slide sequence. Our interest was in examining subjects' production of the misleading postevent information on the second cued recall test (on which they were instructed to ignore the postevent information) as a function of instructions given before the first test. In both experiments, robust misinformation effects occurred, with misrecall being greatest under conditions in which subjects had produced the wrong detail from the narrative on the first test. In this condition subjects were more likely to recall the wrong detail on the second test and were also more likely to say that they remembered its occurrence, when instructed to use Tulving's (1985) remember/know procedure, than in comparison conditions. We conclude that a substantial misinformation effect occurs in recall and that repeated testing increases the effect. False memories may arise through repeated retrieval.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-318
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1996


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