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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Conscious recollections of past experiences are prone to distortion, but retrieval monitoring processes help control memory accuracy and avoid false memories. This chapter overviews the metacognitive aspects of three retrieval processes that are fundamental for determining whether or not a questionable event had occurred in one’s past: (1) selectively searching memory for evidence of the questionable event (orientation), (2) diagnosing the validity of retrieved evidence by comparing it to one’s expectations about the questionable event’s memorability (evaluation), and (3) using various kinds of collateral information to converge upon the truth (corroboration). Such collateral information could include recollections of surrounding events that confirm or disqualify the questionable event’s occurrence, as well as other kinds of knowledge pertaining to the questionable event’s likelihood or plausibility. The chapter discusses laboratory research on each of these processes and considers how these processes recursively interact when remembering the more complex autobiographical events of our lives.

Keywords: false recognition, false recollection, retrieval monitoring, source monitoring, recall-to-reject, distinctiveness heuristic, metacognition

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