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ERIC Number: EJ1049523
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Conjunction Illusions and Conjunction Fallacies in Episodic Memory
Brainerd, C. J.; Holliday, Robyn E.; Nakamura, Koyuki; Reyna, Valerie F.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v40 n6 p1610-1623 Nov 2014
Recent research on the overdistribution principle implies that episodic memory is infected by conjunction illusions. These are instances in which an item that was presented in a single context (e.g., List 1) is falsely remembered as having been presented in multiple contexts (e.g., List 1 and List 2). Robust conjunction illusions were detected in source-monitoring designs in which conjunctive probes ("Was bagpipe presented on List 1 and List 2?") were added to the traditional nonconjunctive probes ("Was bagpipe presented on List 1?"). In Experiment 1, the levels of those illusions were comparable to what would be expected on the basis of results from prior overdistribution experiments. In Experiments 2 and 3, conjunction illusions were neither eliminated nor reduced by a manipulation that should have had such effects if the illusions are by-products of subjective differences in retrieved memory support. Also, conjunction illusions sometimes rose to the level of conjunction fallacies: In certain conditions, subjects thought that items were more likely to have occurred in all the presentation contexts than in any single context, which is impossible. Two general approaches to explaining overdistribution, representational accounts and retrieval accounts, are considered.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1RC1AG036915