Imagination inflation: The effects of number of imaginings on recognition and source monitoring
Goff, Lyn M.
Roediger, Henry L., III
Master of Arts
In two experiments, subjects heard simple action statements (e.g., "break the toothpick") and, in some conditions, performed the action or imagined performing it. After 10 minutes, 24 hours, 1 week, or 2 weeks they imagined performing each action 0, 1, 3, or 5 times, where some actions had been previously heard and others had not. A later test showed that as the number of interpolated imaginings increased, overall recognition accuracy decreased in all conditions except when subjects imagined the events immediately before the test. Source monitoring was not systematically affected by the number of imaginings. However, imagination inflation was observed: As the number of imaginings increased, subjects increased their judgments that they had actually performed an event on the first occasion when they had not. Imagining events multiple times enhanced the hit rate for actions, and also increased subjects' claims that events had occurred when in fact they had not.
Experimental psychology; Cognitive psychology