JOURNAL ARTICLE SUMMARY
1. APA reference of article being reviewed
Howe, M. L., Garner, S. R., & Patel, M. (2013). Positive Consequences of False Memories. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 31(5), 652-665. doi:10.1002/bsl.2078
2. What is the research problem that is being investigated? What is the purpose of the research being conducted?
The research problem under investigation is whether false memories have positive consequences, the experiment was designed to explore the role false memories play in subsequent survival-related problem-solving tasks.
3. What is the research question?
Whether false memories based on survival information serve as better primes for Compound remote associates test (CRATs) whose solutions involve the same survival-relevant terms than for CRATs whose solutions involve false memories based on neutral information.
4. What are 2 or more theories that are discussed in the Introduction? How are they used to motivate (or set up) the research question? Do the authors agree or disagree with these theories?
If the author’s hypothesis is correct, then false memories based on survival information will serve as better primes for compound remote associates test (CRATs) whose solutions involve these same survival-relevant terms than for CRATs whose solutions involve false memories based on neutral information then it will support the following theories.
The first being adaptive memory effect, in this case, it is when survival- related information is encoded and primed in human memory because of its adaptive value; when an individual recalls survival related information because of its importance to survival. The next theory introduced is true and false recollection, in this study participants are instructed to memorize neutral and survival related information. Survival-related concepts being processed and memorized enhances both item-specific contextual level and relational processing creating interrelated processing of information and concepts serving as a basis for false memory.
5. How is the research question operationalized? First, identify the abstract constructs being studied. Next identify the concrete way these are being observed or measured. This should include your IV and DV.
In the study, memory is the abstract explanatory variable (construct) not directly observable. Since the paper is concerned with memory, the DV is the problem solution rate and solution times for items recalled. The independent variable (IV) is the DRM and CRATS survival relevant lists
6. What is the research design (i.e. between or within subjects, what type of statistical tests were used, what were the levels of each variable)?
The study was a within-subject design; age appropriate CRAT problems were used, in the study, the question of survival information served as better primes for CRAT problems for children. Participants were primed on half of the CRAT problems, four random neutral and four random survival lists each containing three words.
16 DRM lists were used containing a critical lure and ten associates; they were randomly split into four groups each containing two neutral and survival lists; participants were primed on half of the DRM lists while completing all eight CRATS lists. (Priming level for CRAT had three factors prime FM, primed no FM, and unprimed)
Participants were randomly given two neutral, and survival DRM lists relevant to half of the CRATs list so comparisons could be made between primed and non-primed CRATs.
DRM lists were verbally given followed by a distractor task after each list; participants were asked to recall words from the list. After each list participants were asked to complete eight CRATs, four could be used with the critical lure from the DRM list.
Crats were presented randomly on a computer screen, and participants were asked to verbally solve each problem within 60 seconds, if the participant provided an incorrect answer it was recorded, and feedback was provided.
7. Describe the results (but not their broader implications). Were the results significant? Which ones? Do these support or not support the hypothesis?
For true recall, participants age 11 years recalled fewer items than 18-year-old participants. Items on survival lists were better recalled than neutral lists. Regardless of age, all participants recalled survival items better than neutral items. For false recall, 11-year-olds recalled fewer false items than 18-year-olds. However, items on the survival list had higher false recall rates than items on the neutral list.
All participants falsely recalled more survival items than neutral items. Items on the survival list had lower net accuracy than items on the neutral list.
The survival lists produced more true and false recall than the neutral lists. False recall rates were highest for survival lists; survival related information may be processed differently in memory than other material, regardless of age.
There was significant effect of priming, primed children falsely remembered the critical lure and solved more CRATs than when they did not falsely remember the critical lure.
Adults solution time was faster, however, children who were primed falsely solved the CRAT more quickly than when the critical lure was not remembered. Survival related problems were solved more quickly than the others.
8. What limitations are mentioned? Why are these limitations theoretically interesting?
There are no limitations mentioned. However, it is interesting to recognize that positive and negative consequences depend on how memory illusions are put to use. Memories are neither good or bad; they are pieces of information one has experienced.