Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Psychology

First Advisor

Rebekah E. Smith

Second Advisor

Matthew Reysen

Third Advisor

Reed Hunt


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Prior research demonstrates that viewing matched pictures is ineffective in reducing false memories for related lures that have not been previously externally presented during the experiment. However, other types of visual processing, such imagery encoding, have been shown to reduce false memories when evaluated from paradigms where the critical item is also thought to be internally activated, such as when using DRM lists. The prior work showing that imagery encoding can reduce false memories when using DRM lists may be confounded by a potential mismatch between the mentally-generated image and the visual word. Using a category associate procedure, as opposed to DRM lists, may help provide a more accurate depiction of the effects of visual processing on false memories for related lures. The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate the effects of different visual encoding conditions on false memory while using a category associate procedure. In two pilot experiments, we demonstrated that imagery encoding was effective in reducing false recall. In a third experiment, we manipulated the test instructions (standard v inclusion) to test the predictions of two key theories (impoverished relational-encoding and distinctiveness heuristic) used to explain the effects of varying levels of visual processing on false memory. The present set of experiments demonstrated that the type of visual stimuli has a unique effect on memory performance. Viewing items pictorially may help to increase the rate of correctly recalled items. Additionally, engaging in imagery may help to not only increase the rate of correctly recalled items, but also reduce the rate of falsely recalled items. Future work evaluating the potential theoretical mechanisms of these effects is warranted.


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