New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Deconstructing Rich False Memories of Committing Crime: Commentary on Shaw and Porter (2015)

Kimberley A. Wade, Maryanne Garry, and Kathy Pezdek

In a 2015 study investigating false-memory creation, Shaw and Porter found that 70% of participants constructed “rich false memories” of having committed a crime as adolescents. This false-memory rate is much higher than the central tendency (about 22%) in studies using a similar paradigm, a discrepancy that the commentary authors attribute to combining false beliefs (e.g., accepting that the event occurred) and false memories (e.g., reporting memory of the event, elaborating on the event). The authors replicated the 70% false memory finding when they used Shaw and Porter’s original coding scheme. However, when they used two other established coding schemes, they found that only 26% to 30% of the reports met the criteria for false memories, and around 43% met the criteria for false beliefs. In additional experiments, lay readers reported low confidence that many of the reports originally coded as false memories showed evidence of actual remembering. The authors conclude that the rate of true false memories generated in the 2015 study is likely to be closer to the central tendency in the literature, a rate that still warrants concern about the potential for false memories in real-world contexts.

Unifying Visual Space Across the Left and Right Hemifields  

Zhimin Chen, Anna Kosovicheva, Benjamin Wolfe, Patrick Cavanagh, Andrei Gorea, and David Whitney

To examine whether the visual system uses a fixed or dynamic approach to integrate the left and right visual fields into a unified percept, the authors developed a novel adaptation paradigm. In an adaptation phase, participants saw a moving set of colored lines that was split down the middle vertically, one side appearing higher than the other. Then, a pair of dashes appeared briefly on screen, and participants reported whether the left dash was higher or lower than the right. After each set of these judgments, participants had another 1-min adaptation period. The results showed that viewing the misaligned adaptation stimulus caused a shift in the opposite direction when participants subsequently viewed the dashes. For example, if participants had adapted to a stimulus in which the left half was shifted downward, they reported that the dashes were aligned when in fact the left dash was lower. This negative aftereffect emerged with other adaptation stimuli, including movie clips, but it was specific to vertical misalignment across the two visual fields. The results suggest that the visual system continuously recalibrates alignment of elements across the visual fields to create a unified percept.

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