An exploratory high-density EEG investigation of the misinformation effect: Attentional and recollective differences between true and false perceptual memories

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Abstract

The misinformation effect, a phenomenon in which eyewitness memories are altered via exposure to post-event misinformation, is one of the most important paradigms used to investigate the reconstructive nature of human memory. The aim of this study was to use the misinformation effect paradigm to investigate differences in attentional and recollective processing between true and false event memories. Nineteen participants completed a variant of the misinformation paradigm in which recognition responses to true and misinformation based event details embedded within a narrative context, were investigated using high-density (256-channel) EEG with a 1-day delay between event exposure and test. Source monitoring responses were used to isolate event-related-potentials (ERPs) associated with perceptual (i.e. event) source attributions. Temporal-spatial analyses of these ERPs showed evidence of an elevated P3b and Late-Positive Component, associated with stronger context-matching responses and recollective activity respectively, in true perceptual memories relative to false misinformation based ones. These findings represent the first retrieval focused EEG investigation of the misinformation effect and highlight the interplay between attention and retrieval processes in episodic memory recognition.

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