Is working memory working against suggestion susceptibility? Results from extended version of DRM paradigm

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The paper investigates relationship between working memory efficiency, defined as the result of its’ processing & storage capacity (Oberauer et al., 2003) and the tendency to (1) create assosiative memory distortions (false memories, FM); (2) yield under the influence of external, suggesting factors. Both issues were examined using extended version of Deese-Roediger-McDermott procedure (1959, 1995), modified in order to meet the study demands. Suggestion was contained in an ostentatious feedback information the participants (N=88) received during the DRM procedure. Working memory (WM) was measured by standardized tasks (n-back, Jaeggi et al., 2010; automatic-ospan, Unsworth et al., 2005). Study included 3 conditions, differing in the quality of suggestion (positive, negative or neutral). Participants were assigned into 3 groups, depending on results they achieved completing the WM tasks. Obtained results alongside the previously set hypothesis, revealed that (1) WM impacts individuals’ tendency to create false memories in DRM and (2) that the individuals showing higher rates in WM tasks are less willing to yield to suggestion compared to those with lesser ones. It also showed that the greater amount to shift (Gudjonsson, 2003), emerges under the negative suggestion condition (collating positive). Notwithstanding that the interaction effect did not achieve saliency, both analyzed factors (WM and suggesting content) are considered as meaningful to explain memory suggestion susceptibility in presented study. Although, obtained results emphasize the crucial role of WM efficiency, that is believed to decide the magnitude of feedback that is influential in every subject. Therefore, issue demands further exploration.

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