City Research Online

A Self-Reference False Memory Effect in the DRM Paradigm: Evidence from Eastern and Western Samples

Wang, J., Otgaar, H., Howe, M. L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5747-5571 & Zhou, C. (2019). A Self-Reference False Memory Effect in the DRM Paradigm: Evidence from Eastern and Western Samples. Memory and Cognition, 47(1), pp. 76-86. doi: 10.3758/s13421-018-0851-3


It is well established that processing information in relation to oneself (i.e., selfreferencing) leads to better memory for that information than processing that same information in relation to others (i.e., other-referencing). However, it is unknown whether self-referencing also leads to more false memories than other-referencing. In the current two experiments with European and East Asian samples, we presented participants the Deese-Roediger/McDermott (DRM) lists together with their own name or other people’s name (i.e., “Trump” in Experiment 1 and “Li Ming” in Experiment 2). We found consistent results across the two experiments; that is, in the self-reference condition, participants had higher true and false memory rates compared to those in the other-reference condition. Moreover, we found that selfreferencing did not exhibit superior mnemonic advantage in terms of net accuracy compared to other-referencing and neutral conditions. These findings are discussed in terms of theoretical frameworks such as spreading activation theories and the fuzzytrace theory. We propose that our results reflect the adaptive nature of memory in the sense that cognitive processes that increase mnemonic efficiency may also increase susceptibility to associative false memories.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher Keywords: Self-reference, false memory, net accuracy, spreading activation, fuzzytrace theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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