Previous research has demonstrated that definable qualities of verbal stimuli have implications for memory. For example, the distinction between concrete and abstract words has led to the finding that concrete words have an advantage in memory tasks (i.e., the concreteness effect). However, other word types, such as words that label specific human emotions, may also affect memory processes. This study examined the effects of word type on the production of false memories by using a list-learning false memory paradigm. Participants heard lists of words that were highly associated to nonpresented concrete, abstract, or emotion words (i.e., the critical lures) and then engaged in list recall. Emotion word critical lures were falsely recalled at a significantly higher rate (with the effect carried by the positively valenced critical lures) than concrete and abstract critical lures. These findings suggest that the word type variable has implications for our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie recall and false recall.

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