Abstract OBJECTIVES Recent research has shown that false memories can have a positive consequence on human cognition in both children and young adults. The present experiment investigated whether false memories could have similar positive effects by priming solutions to insight-based problems in healthy older adults and people with Alzheimer’s disease. METHODS Participants were asked to solve compound remote associate task (CRAT) problems, half of which had been preceded by the presentation of Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) lists whose critical lures were also the solutions to those problems. RESULTS The results showed that regardless of cognitive ability, when the critical lure was falsely recognized, CRAT problems were solved more often and reliably faster than problems that were not primed by a DRM list. When the critical lure was not falsely recognized, CRAT problem solution rates and times were no different from when there was no DRM priming. DISCUSSION These findings are consistent with predictions from theories of associative activation and demonstrate the importance of automatic spreading activation processes in memory across the lifespan. False memory, Priming problem solving, Compound remote associates task, DRM paradigm, Alzheimer’s disease © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 5, 2018
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