Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The research in this thesis investigated factors that influence a particular type of source memory decision, the discrimination between memories that originate with others and memories that originate with ourselves. In their reality monitoring model, Johnson & Raye (1981) characterize the source decision process as an attribution based on an examination of memory rather than the retrieval of a label or tag that specifies a memory's source. Their research demonstrated that subjects rely on information from initial encoding to guide their decisions about the origins of their memories. The present research examined the influence of events occurring after encoding on source memory decisions. Postevent information (e.g., Loftus, 1991b) and the manner in which information is later processed (e.g., Jacoby, Kelley, & Dywan, 1989) are known to influence other types of memory judgments. More specifically, the purpose of the present research was to investigate the influence of events that occur after initial encoding, either during the period between study and test or at the time of testing, on the accuracy of source judgments and the confidence subjects express for those judgments. An additional focus of interest was the relationship between confidence in a memory and source decision accuracy.;The results of the present experiments indicated that source attribution errors were likely to occur when information was processed again in a manner that differed from that at original encoding. Source decision errors increased when the conflicting presentations were part of the actual memory test (Experiments 1, 2, & 3) as well as when they occurred between study and test (Experiment 4). The confidence exhibited in source attributions was not always a reliable indicator of decision accuracy (Experiments 2 & 3) and under certain testing conditions subjects displayed inappropriate confidence for some of their erroneous source judgments. Finally, although ratings of memory strength (as indicated by confidence in recognition) generally predicted word recognition performance, strong memories were not necessarily associated with accurate source attributions (Experiments 3 & 4).;Overall, the results of the present studies are consistent with the reality monitoring model (Johnson & Raye, 1981) and the more encompassing source monitoring framework (Johnson, Hashtroudi, & Lindsay, 1993). Considered together, the results of the present studies extend the previous work by demonstrating that events occurring after a memory has been formed may influence decisions about how that memory was acquired.



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