Does Semantic Association Play a Role in Post-Event Misinformation Effect?

Goz I., Tekin S., Dinn A. A.

TURK PSIKOLOJI DERGISI, vol.30, no.75, pp.36-46, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30 Issue: 75
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Title of Journal : TURK PSIKOLOJI DERGISI
  • Page Numbers: pp.36-46


According to one of the most prominent false memory theories (Fuzzy Trace Theory), false memories stem from the semantic association between the original information and post-event misinformation. Furthermore, the strength of this association predicts the probability of accepting the post-event misinformation as original information. In order to test this prediction within the eyewitness testimony framework, the current study used a video of a mock-theft and a narrative of the event in which some original information was changed as post-event misinformation. To that end, the strong and the weak members of the category to which original information belongs to, and semantically unrelated options were given as distractors in addition to the original information in a recognition test. Analysis revealed that semantically strong and weak distractors were significantly more likely to be accepted as original information than the semantically unrelated item. Semantically strong distractors were accepted as original information more than weak distractors, although the difference did not reach significance. Findings were discussed in terms of Fuzzy Trace Theory and the "developmental reversals" approach by Brainerd and Reyna (2012).