The effect of cognitive load on hemispheric asymmetries in true and false memory

Michael J. Tat, Tamiko Azuma

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Scopus citations


    Studies examining hemispheric asymmetries in false memory have shown that the right hemisphere (RH) is more susceptible to false memories compared to the left hemisphere (LH). Theories suggest that hemispheric asymmetries in true and false memory may be due to differences in representational coding and the use of top-down mechanisms in each hemisphere. In the current study, the Deese–Roediger–McDermott false memory paradigmwas used in conjunction with divided visual field presentation to examine the role of top-down mechanisms in hemispheric asymmetries of true and false memory. In Experiment 1, participants studied lists of related words while completing secondary cognitive load tasks. In Experiment 2, the secondary tasks were administered during memory retrieval instead of memory encoding. Results revealed that cognitive loads imposed during the study phase influenced veridical memory in the LH more than the RH, but cognitive loads imposed during retrieval did not influence veridical memory in either hemisphere. Surprisingly, false memory rates were not influenced by cognitive loads and were higher in the LH. These data provide evidence that, at least for veridical memory, top-down control mechanisms are used more readily for the encoding of information into memory in the LH compared to the RH.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)50-75
    Number of pages26
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2 2016


    • Hemispheric asymmetry
    • executive function
    • false memory
    • top-down control

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • General Psychology


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