Mechanisms of False Memories in Bilinguals

Bianca Valentina Gurrola, University of Texas at El Paso


Research on false memory in bilinguals has discovered that false memories can transfer across languages and occur at a higher rate than for within-language false memories (Marmolejo et al., 2009). However, the exact conditions that cause the stronger between-language false memory effect are not clear, nor is it clear how language proficiency influences the production of false memories. The present study had three goals. First, we tested whether the stronger betweenlanguage false memory effect relative to the within-language effect would replicate. Second, we examined whether bilinguals could integrate information across languages to form false memories by implementing a mixed-language condition. Lastly, we investigated whether language proficiency is positively associated with the susceptibility to falsely remembering nonpresented critical lures. 96 Spanish-English bilingual participants were administered standardized language assessments and completed a bilingual DRM paradigm task. Participants completed fifteen study-recall cycles (5 within-language, 5 mixed-language, and 5 between-language), and then completed a final yes/no recognition test. As predicted, the stronger false memory effect between languages in both recall and recognition replicated, and there were significant false memory effects for recall and recognition in mixed-language conditions. However, language proficiency and false memory were not significantly associated. These findings support the conclusion that proficient bilinguals can integrate information across their languages via a shared semantic network.

Subject Area

Cognitive psychology|Experimental psychology|Bilingual education

Recommended Citation

Gurrola, Bianca Valentina, "Mechanisms of False Memories in Bilinguals" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30494240.