People consider reliability and cost when verifying their autobiographical memories

Kimberley A. Wade, Robert A. Nash, Maryanne Garry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Because memories are not always accurate, people rely on a variety of strategies to verify whether the events that they remember really did occur. Several studies have examined which strategies people tend to use, but none to date has asked why people opt for certain strategies over others. Here we examined the extent to which people's beliefs about the reliability and the cost of different strategies would determine their strategy selection. Subjects described a childhood memory and then suggested strategies they might use to verify the accuracy of that memory. Next, they rated the reliability and cost of each strategy, and the likelihood that they might use it. Reliability and cost each predicted strategy selection, but a combination of the two ratings provided even greater predictive value. Cost was significantly more influential than reliability, which suggests that a tendency to seek and to value "cheap" information more than reliable information could underlie many real-world memory errors.

LanguageEnglish
Pages28-34
Number of pages7
JournalActa Psychologica
Volume146
Early online date24 Dec 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

Fingerprint

Episodic Memory
Costs and Cost Analysis
Costs
Autobiographical Memory

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Acta Psychologica. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Wade, KA, Nash, RA & Garry, M, 'People consider reliability and cost when verifying their autobiographical memories' Acta Psychologica, vol 146 (2014) DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.12.001

Keywords

  • autobiographical memory
  • false memory
  • information-cost trade-off
  • verifying strategies

Cite this

@article{64be7f0ddf664eddbba865d9c20f6afd,
title = "People consider reliability and cost when verifying their autobiographical memories",
abstract = "Because memories are not always accurate, people rely on a variety of strategies to verify whether the events that they remember really did occur. Several studies have examined which strategies people tend to use, but none to date has asked why people opt for certain strategies over others. Here we examined the extent to which people's beliefs about the reliability and the cost of different strategies would determine their strategy selection. Subjects described a childhood memory and then suggested strategies they might use to verify the accuracy of that memory. Next, they rated the reliability and cost of each strategy, and the likelihood that they might use it. Reliability and cost each predicted strategy selection, but a combination of the two ratings provided even greater predictive value. Cost was significantly more influential than reliability, which suggests that a tendency to seek and to value {"}cheap{"} information more than reliable information could underlie many real-world memory errors.",
keywords = "autobiographical memory, false memory, information-cost trade-off, verifying strategies",
author = "Wade, {Kimberley A.} and Nash, {Robert A.} and Maryanne Garry",
note = "NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Acta Psychologica. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Wade, KA, Nash, RA & Garry, M, 'People consider reliability and cost when verifying their autobiographical memories' Acta Psychologica, vol 146 (2014) DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.12.001",
year = "2014",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.12.001",
language = "English",
volume = "146",
pages = "28--34",
journal = "Acta Psychologica",
issn = "0001-6918",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

People consider reliability and cost when verifying their autobiographical memories. / Wade, Kimberley A.; Nash, Robert A.; Garry, Maryanne.

In: Acta Psychologica, Vol. 146, 02.2014, p. 28-34.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - People consider reliability and cost when verifying their autobiographical memories

AU - Wade, Kimberley A.

AU - Nash, Robert A.

AU - Garry, Maryanne

N1 - NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Acta Psychologica. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Wade, KA, Nash, RA & Garry, M, 'People consider reliability and cost when verifying their autobiographical memories' Acta Psychologica, vol 146 (2014) DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.12.001

PY - 2014/2

Y1 - 2014/2

N2 - Because memories are not always accurate, people rely on a variety of strategies to verify whether the events that they remember really did occur. Several studies have examined which strategies people tend to use, but none to date has asked why people opt for certain strategies over others. Here we examined the extent to which people's beliefs about the reliability and the cost of different strategies would determine their strategy selection. Subjects described a childhood memory and then suggested strategies they might use to verify the accuracy of that memory. Next, they rated the reliability and cost of each strategy, and the likelihood that they might use it. Reliability and cost each predicted strategy selection, but a combination of the two ratings provided even greater predictive value. Cost was significantly more influential than reliability, which suggests that a tendency to seek and to value "cheap" information more than reliable information could underlie many real-world memory errors.

AB - Because memories are not always accurate, people rely on a variety of strategies to verify whether the events that they remember really did occur. Several studies have examined which strategies people tend to use, but none to date has asked why people opt for certain strategies over others. Here we examined the extent to which people's beliefs about the reliability and the cost of different strategies would determine their strategy selection. Subjects described a childhood memory and then suggested strategies they might use to verify the accuracy of that memory. Next, they rated the reliability and cost of each strategy, and the likelihood that they might use it. Reliability and cost each predicted strategy selection, but a combination of the two ratings provided even greater predictive value. Cost was significantly more influential than reliability, which suggests that a tendency to seek and to value "cheap" information more than reliable information could underlie many real-world memory errors.

KW - autobiographical memory

KW - false memory

KW - information-cost trade-off

KW - verifying strategies

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84890955210&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.12.001

DO - 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.12.001

M3 - Article

VL - 146

SP - 28

EP - 34

JO - Acta Psychologica

T2 - Acta Psychologica

JF - Acta Psychologica

SN - 0001-6918

ER -