False memories have been the subject of many studies since Deese (1959) investigated their effects.
False memories include distorting features of events and situations or recalling facts and memories that never occurred at all (Roediger and McDermott, 1995).
Roediger and McDermott’ (1995), experiment based on Deese’s (1959) experiment renewed the interest in false memories and invented the Deese-McDermott-Roediger Paradigm which many studies surround. Their study focused on eliciting false memories through receiving lists of words and being asked to recall those that were present from a separate list that included a critical word that if recalled, showed presence of false memory effects. Notably many participants were sure that the critical word had appeared previously, demonstrating how much our memory can be influenced.
Several studies have tested how false memory effects occur and whether they can be elicited by semantically or phonologically similar words or in relation to doctored photographs.
Watson, Balota and Roediger (2003) included not only semantic words but also phonologically similar words. Their results found that both phonologically similar and semantic words can produce false memories and have stronger effects together than separately. Watson, Balota and Roediger (2003) included a remember/know component that found remembering a word was linked to semantic words and knowing a word had appeared with phonological words. In relation to eyewitness-testimony eyewitnesses could be recalling information they had previously heard/red or something that occurred in a similar case.
Payne, Elie, Blackwell and Neuschatz (1996) studied false memory using the DRM and fitting with other results found that words relating to the presented list of words are more likely to be falsely recalled. Participants can be so confident that words appeared that they can determine whether a female or male said it during an experiment where video was shown with either a male or female reading the list (Payne, Elie, Blackwell and Neuschatz, 1996).
Hessen-Kayfitz and Scoboria (2012) showed effects of false memories, in regards to photos of events in childhood that never occurred. These photos either contained details about themselves, unfamiliar details or both. Their results found that the highest false memory effects occurred for those photos that contained only personal details. Photos that had both details had the overall lowest rating for a previous memory. Showing that false memories are more likely to occur when personal information is presented, but unfamiliar information hindered the process.
These studies only included undergraduate students, therefore consisting mainly of young adults. This raises questions on whether results can be generalised to those in all age groups.
False memory studies also directly focused on eyewitness testimonies. Gerrie, Belcher and Garry (2006) studied video clips, as they most likely reflect real-life. By omitting either...