False memory at short and long term.

False memories are well-established long-term memory (LTM) phenomena. Recent reports of false recognition at short term suggest that working memory (WM) could also give rise to false memories, supporting the unitary view of memory. Alternatively, we hypothesized that the emergence of false memories at short term results from the impairment of WM maintenance, memory performance relying then on LTM. More specifically, we assumed that false memories rely on the retrieval of gist traces of the memory items while their verbatim traces that could block false memories are no longer accessible. To test this proposal, we reported a series of 4 experiments in which the availability of 2 WM maintenance mechanisms, articulatory rehearsal and attentional refreshing, was manipulated, and the reliance of recognition performance on gist and verbatim traces was also assessed. In line with our hypothesis, the occurrence of false memories in immediate recognition test was accompanied by the reduction of verbatim memory retrieval resulting from the impairment of rehearsal. By contrast, false memories in the delayed test depended on gist memory, which was strengthened by the use of refreshing. These findings support an integrated account of false memories at short and long term, shed light on the nature of mental representations generated by WM maintenance mechanisms and on the relationships between WM and LTM. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)