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Inappropriate association of semantics and context to novel stimuli can give rise to the false recognition of unfamiliar people
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 18:49 authored by Jamie WardJamie Ward, L Jones
This paper reports further experiments with a patient (MR) who has a tendency to claim that unfamous people are familiar together with good ability at identifying truly famous people. The first experiment examines the role that the typicality of stimuli plays in his false recognition. Although, typicality may have some influence over false recognition (as it does for normal controls) there is little evidence to suggest that MR is over-reliant on such information. It is unlikely that perceptual fluency can entirely explain his deficit. This is bolstered by a further study using morphed images of famous and unfamous faces, suggesting that false recognition is associated with inappropriate retrieval of semantic-biographical information. It is argued that MR's judgement of 'fame' is subjectively appropriate, given the information that he retrieves. This information is thought to derive from currently activated, or recently activated, contextual information which becomes inappropriately bound to the novel stimulus, giving rise to a false sense of familiarity. These findings underscore the importance of viewing memory as an attributional process, whereby current mental constructions/processes are attributed to some event(s) in the past.
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