Reducing false memory by using domain-specific knowledge

Abstract

This paper examines the issue of false memory and its relationship to domain-specific knowledge. Forty participants (20 experienced taxi drivers and 20 university students) were examined in a list recall experiment, using the D/RM paradigm (Roediger & McDermott, 1995). In the experiment, participants studied lists of street names in the metropolitan city of Hong Kong (e.g.: Nathan Road, Jordan Road, Waterloo Road); and then each testing list was embedded with a non-presented street name for participants’ verification. Three types of study lists were constructed: (1) all the street names followed a spatially continuous taxi route throughout the city; (2) all the street names were non-taxi route throughout the city; (3) all the street names formed a spatially non-continuous taxi-route throughout the city. The general pattern of results replicated the previous findings of false memory except that the effect of false memory was clearly absent to the group of experienced taxi drivers if the to-be-remembered items in the recall list followed a spatially continuous tax route of the city. This result implied that the experienced taxi drivers could greatly reduce the influence of false memory by their exceptional memory capacity of street names (the domain-specific knowledge).


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