Preference for cheap-and-easy memory verification strategies is strongest among people with high memory distrust


When choosing strategies for verifying one’s memory, people are more influenced by the perceived cost of using a strategy than by its likelihood of yielding reliable information (i.e., cheap-strategy bias). The current preregistered study investigated whether people with high memory distrust are less likely to exhibit this bias than their low memory distrust counterparts. Participants (N = 535) imagined a scenario in which they witnessed an accident and were then led by friends to question their memories about the accident. Participants had to propose five strategies for verifying that particular memory. Following this, they rated each strategy’s cost, reliability, and their likelihood of using it, as well as completing two validated measures of trait memory distrust. Contrary to our prediction, compared with participants with low memory distrust, participants with higher memory distrust exhibited a larger cheap-strategy bias. Follow-up analyses suggested that compared with memory-trusters, memory distrusters’ strategy choices were more influenced by a strategy’s perceived cost, and less influenced by its perceived reliability. Our results suggest that people who are more skeptical about their memories may be more cynical about the worthwhileness of verifying their memory, which could make them especially susceptible to misinformation acceptance and false memory creation.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent. Funding The present research is supported by the China Scholarship Council (NO.202106140025, recipient: Yikang Zhang).
Uncontrolled Keywords: General Psychology,Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Publication ISSN: 1464-0686
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 08:14
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2023 09:46
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Related URLs: https://www.tan ... 11.2023.2216910 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-05-26
Published Online Date: 2023-05-26
Accepted Date: 2023-05-17
Submitted Date: 2023-02-10
Authors: Zhang, Yikang
Nash, Robert A. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-2284-2001)
Otgaar, Henry



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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