Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This study investigated the effects of time and misinformation on memory for fictitious events in SO students who were given course credit in return for their participation. During an initial meeting, subjects were provided with descriptions of four events. Every subject received fictitious information about spending the night in the hospital for an ear infection. One group of subjects was led to believe they had been lost in a shopping mail when in fact that had never occurred (The Suggested Lost group). A second group of subjects were told to develop a convincing story about being lost in a shopping mall (the Imagined Lost group). The third group was comprised of subjects who had been lost at a shopping mall at some time during childhood (the True Lost group). All subjects received additional information about two events that had occurred when they were younger. Subjects returned two days or two weeks after the initial meeting and were interviewed about their memories for each of the events. Subjects were asked to rate the clarity of their memory for the described events as well as how likely it was that each of the events had occurred. Interviews were transcribed and subjected to analysis.

Tallies were collected for the number of subjects who developed a memory for a fictitious event. Five subjects remembered spending a night in the hospital, and one subject remembered being lost in a shopping mail, in spite of independent verifications that the event had never occurred.

The rating scale data were subjected to ANOVAs. There was a significant effect of Group on subjects' reports of the likelihood of having been lost in a shopping mall. Contrast testing revealed significant differences between the False Memory group and the True Lost group, as well as between the False Memory group and the Imagined Memory group, in the ratings of clarity of the false memory. No other significant effects of Group or Time were noted.