Correcting False Memories: The Effect of Mnemonic Generalization on Original Memory Traces

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
N. Muncy, Brock Kirwan

Abstract

False memories are a common occurrence but the impact of misremembering on the original memory trace is ill-described. While the original memory may be rewritten, it is also possible for a second false memory to exist concurrently with the original, and if a false memory exists concurrently then recovery of the original information should be possible. This study investigates first, whether false recognition overwrites the original memory representation using a mnemonic discrimination task, and second, which neural processes are involved in recovering the original memory following a false memory. Thirty-five healthy, young adults performed multiple recognition memory tests, where the design of the experiment induced participants to make memory errors in the first recognition memory test and then allowed us to determine whether the memory error would be corrected in the second test session. FMRI signal associated with the encoding and retrieval processes during the experiment were investigated in order to determine the important regions for false memory correction. We found that false memories do not overwrite the original trace in all instances, as recovery of the original information was possible. Critically, we determined that...Continue Reading

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