Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Kauyumari Sanchez

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Amanda Hahn

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Brandilynn Villarreal

Subject Categories



This research investigated false memories via spreading activation and the influence of encoding specificity on explicit and implicit memory tests in incidental learning situations. It was hypothesized that congruent conditions would have higher rates of both false memories for associated items as well as more accurate memories for presented items. It was also expected that this effect would be larger among those in implicit memory conditions compared to explicit conditions. The participants (n=175) were presented with Deese-Roediger-McDermott semantically associated word lists via a Stroop task, in which they were not told to remember the words presented, but to instead identify the font color of the word. The font color of the presented word lists was either the same (congruent) between the learning and memory tests, or it was different (incongruent). With respect to false memory, a significant interaction for memory condition and font color was found, such that those in the implicit condition had more false memories for non-presented words when in the incongruent font color condition, and those in the explicit condition had more false memories when in the congruent font color condition. Regarding memory accuracy, both those in the implicit and explicit conditions had more accurate memories when in the congruent font color condition. Overall, the explicit condition had more false memories and more accurate memories than those in the implicit condition. This research shows that significant differences exist among implicit and explicit false memories regarding the effects of encoding specificity in incidental learning situations.

Citation Style