Associative Illusions of Memory

False Memory Research in DRM and Related Tasks

By David Gallo

© 2006 – Psychology Press

302 pages | 31 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138006072
pub: 2014-06-09
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9781841694146
pub: 2006-08-28
US Dollars$60.00

About the Book

The last decade has seen a flurry of experimental research into the neurocognitive underpinnings of illusory memories. Using simple materials and tests (e.g., recalling words or pictures), methods such as the famed Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) task have attracted considerable attention. These tasks elicit false memories of nonstudied events that are vivid, long lasting, and difficult to consciously avoid. Additional research shows that these memory illusions are fundamentally related to more complex memory distortions. As a result, this rapidly expanding literature has generated a great deal of excitement - and even some controversy - in contemporary psychology.

Associative Illusions of Memory provides an ambitious overview of this research area. Starting with the historical roots and major theoretical trends, this book exhaustively reviews the most recent studies by cognitive psychologists, neuropsychologists, and cognitive neuroscientists. The strengths and limits of various experimental techniques are outlined, and the large body of existing data is meaningfully distilled into a few core theoretical concepts.

This book highlights the malleability of memory, as well as the strategies and situations that can help us avoid false memories. Throughout the review, it is argued that these basic memory illusions contribute to a deeper understanding of how human memory works.


“In Associative Illusions of Memory, David Gallo brings together a huge literature showing people misremembering events that are related to real events. The key memory distortion paradigm has been used with young and old, smart and not-so-smart, drunk and sober. We’ve learned a stunning amount about illusory recollection from this body of work, all meticulously and thoughtfully reviewed in one place. A bravura contribution to the memory field.” — Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor at University of California, Irvine, and author of Eyewitness Testimony

“Research on memory illusions has exploded during the past decade, and the field badly needs an integrative treatment of the topic. David Gallo has filled that need with this scholarly, well written, and timely volume. Rich in analysis and insight, this important book is required reading for anyone involved in research on memory or memory illusions.” — Daniel L. Schacter, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory

Table of Contents

Part I. Background. Associations and errors through history. Converging association tasks. Part II. Basic theories and data. Processes that cause false memory.Illusory recollection. Processes that reduce false memory. Additional study and test manipulations. Part III. Applications and data. Individual differences and generalizability. Development and aging. Neuropsychology and drugs. Neuroimaging and localization. Summary and conclusions.

About the Author

David Gallo is an Assistant Professort of Psychology at Chicago University. He previously was an NIH postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University and he received his PhD in Experimental Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was awarded a graduate research scholarship from the American Psychological Foundation

About the Series

Essays in Cognitive Psychology

Essays in Cognitive Psychology is designed to meet the need for rapid publication of brief volumes in cognitive psychology.

Primary topics include perception, movement and action, attention, memory, mental representation, language and problem solving.

Furthermore, the series seeks to define cognitive psychology in its broadest sense, encompassing all topics either informed by, or informing, the study of mental processes. As such, it covers a wide range of subjects including computational approaches to cognition, cognitive neuroscience, social cognition, and cognitive development, as well as areas more traditionally defined as cognitive psychology.

Each volume in the series makes a conceptual contribution to the topic by reviewing and synthesizing the existing research literature, by advancing theory in the area, or by some combination of these missions.

The principal aim is that authors provide an overview of their own highly successful research program in an area.

Volumes also include an assessment of current knowledge and identification of possible future trends in research.

Each book is a self-contained unit supplying the advanced reader with a well-structured review of the work described and evaluated.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology