Spinoza’s Error: Memory for Truth and Falsity

Nadarevic, Lena ; Erdfelder, Edgar

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-012-0251-z
URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.3758%2Fs13421-...
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2013
The title of a journal, publication series: Memory & Cognition
Volume: 41
Issue number: 2
Page range: 176-186
Place of publication: Heidelberg [u.a.]
Publishing house: Springer
ISSN: 0090-502x
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Kognitive Psychologie u. Differentielle Psychologie (Erdfelder)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Keywords (English): Source memory , Memory representation , Truth , Falsity , Multinomial modeling
Abstract: Two theoretical frameworks have been proposed to account for the representation of truth and falsity in human memory: the Cartesian model and the Spinozan model. Both models presume that during information processing a mental representation of the information is stored along with a tag indicating its truth value. However, the two models disagree on the nature of these tags. According to the Cartesian model, true information receives a “true” tag and false information receives a “false” tag. In contrast, the Spinozan model claims that only false information receives a “false” tag, whereas untagged information is automatically accepted as true. To test the Cartesian and Spinozan models, we conducted two source memory experiments in which participants studied true and false trivia statements from three different sources differing in credibility (i.e., presenting 100% true, 50% true and 50% false, or 100% false statements). In Experiment 1, half of the participants were informed about the source credibility prior to the study phase. As compared to a control group, this precue group showed improved source memory for both true and false statements, but not for statements with an uncertain validity status. Moreover, memory did not differ for truth and falsity in the precue group. As Experiment 2 revealed, this finding is replicated even when using a 1-week rather than a 20-min retention interval between study and test phases. The results of both experiments clearly contradict the Spinozan model but can be explained in terms of the Cartesian model.

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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