Contexts of cryptomnesia: May the source be with you

C. Neil Macrae*, Galen V. Bodenhausen, Guglielmo Calvini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Cryptomnesia represents an intriguing type of mental illusion in which people mistakenly believe that they have produced a new idea when in fact they have simply unwittingly retrieved an old, previously encountered idea from memory. Drawing on recent research on this form of inadvertent plagiarism, we hypothesized that perceivers' susceptibility to the illusion that other people's responses were actually self-generated would be influenced by contextual variables that impact upon the efficiency of source monitoring. The results of three studies, examining different contextual factors (i.e., Experiment 1, perceptual similarity; Experiment 2, cognitive distraction; Experiment 3, retrieval context), confirmed this prediction. We consider how difficulties in source monitoring may inform our understanding of the process and consequences of cryptomnesia in everyday life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-297
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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