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Discrepancy detection in the retrieval-enhanced suggestibility paradigm


Retrieval-enhanced suggestibility (RES) refers to the finding that immediately recalling the details of a witnessed event can increase susceptibility to later misinformation. In three experiments, we sought to gain a deeper understanding of the role that retrieval plays in the RES paradigm. Consistent with past research, initial testing did increase susceptibility to misinformation - but only for those who failed to detect discrepancies between the original event and the post-event misinformation. In all three experiments, subjects who retrospectively detected discrepancies in the post-event narratives were more resistant to misinformation than those who did not. In Experiments 2 and 3, having subjects concurrently assess the consistency of the misinformation narratives negated the RES effect. Interestingly, in Experiments 2 and 3, subjects who had retrieval practice and detected discrepancies were more likely to endorse misinformation than control subjects who detected discrepancies. These results call attention to limiting conditions of the RES effect and highlight the complex relationship between retrieval practice, discrepancy detection, and misinformation endorsement.

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