How does attention impact false memory susceptibility?

How does attention impact false memory susceptibility?
New research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows people who have less ability to sustain their attention are more vulnerable to creating false memories. Credit: Shutterstock

How we remember things, and how we falter in those memories, is a process that has been studied for decades, but human episodic memory is still poorly understood.

Using electroencephalogram technology, or EEG, John Kiat, a doctoral candidate, and Robert Belli, professor of psychology, were able to show that people who have less ability to sustain their attention long-term are more susceptible to creating .

Kiat and colleagues in the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior were able to demonstrate how a slow wave neural response—associated with over extended time periods—predicted false memory formation during a later misinformation task, in which respondents were given a true-false test regarding images and narratives they'd read.

Participants who were less able to sustain attention were more vulnerable to false memory.

Understanding points of failure in memory-making such as this one help scientists learn how the system works, which has direct, practical applications in the criminal justice system where many cases rely on .

Kiat plans to continue to work on uncovering the role of basic processes in the episodic memory system to help further explain its operation.

Explore further

Forty percent of people have a fictional first memory, says study

More information: John E. Kiat et al. Attentional responses on an auditory oddball predict false memory susceptibility, Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience (2018). DOI: 10.3758/s13415-018-0618-0
Citation: How does attention impact false memory susceptibility? (2018, August 2) retrieved 22 October 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more