Preference for cheap-and-easy memory verification strategies is strongest among people with high memory distrust

Yikang Zhang, Robert A. Nash, Henry Otgaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When choosing strategies for verifying one’s memory, people are more influenced by the perceived cost of using a strategy than by its likelihood of yielding reliable information (i.e., cheap-strategy bias). The current preregistered study investigated whether people with high memory distrust are less likely to exhibit this bias than their low memory distrust counterparts. Participants (N = 535) imagined a scenario in which they witnessed an accident and were then led by friends to question their memories about the accident. Participants had to propose five strategies for verifying that particular memory. Following this, they rated each strategy’s cost, reliability, and their likelihood of using it, as well as completing two validated measures of trait memory distrust. Contrary to our prediction, compared with participants with low memory distrust, participants with higher memory distrust exhibited a larger cheap-strategy bias. Follow-up analyses suggested that compared with memory-trusters, memory distrusters’ strategy choices were more influenced by a strategy’s perceived cost, and less influenced by its perceived reliability. Our results suggest that people who are more skeptical about their memories may be more cynical about the worthwhileness of verifying their memory, which could make them especially susceptible to misinformation acceptance and false memory creation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-988
Number of pages11
Issue number7
Early online date26 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

The present research is supported by the China Scholarship Council (NO.202106140025, recipient: Yikang Zhang).


  • General Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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