Detecting Knowledge of Incidentally Acquired, Real-World Memories Using a P300-Based Concealed-Information Test

John B. Meixner*, Joel P Rosenfeld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Autobiographical memory for events experienced during normal daily life has been studied at the group level, but no studies have yet examined the ability to detect recognition of incidentally acquired memories among individual subjects. We present the first such study here, which employed a concealed-information test in which subjects were shown words associated with activities they had experienced the previous day. Subjects wore a video-recording device for 4 hr on Day 1 and then returned to the laboratory on Day 2, where they were shown words relating to events recorded with the camera (probe items) and words of the same category but not relating to the subject’s activities (irrelevant items). Electroencephalograms were recorded, and presentation of probe items was associated with a large peak in the amplitude of the P300 component. We were able to discriminate perfectly between 12 knowledgeable subjects who viewed stimuli related to their activities and 12 nonknowledgeable subjects who viewed only irrelevant items. These results have strong implications for the use of memory-detection paradigms in criminal contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1994-2005
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Science
Volume25
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • autobiographical memory
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • episodic memory
  • eyewitness memory
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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