Event familiarity influences memory detection using the aIAT

Melanie Takarangi, Deryn Strange, Emma Houghton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    The developers of the autobiographical Implicit Association Test (aIAT) describe it as a possible memory detection tool. This claim rests on the assumption the aIAT can reliably and automatically detect the accuracy of autobiographical events. However, the aIAT may be susceptible to factors that affect the assessment of truth vs. falseness, such as the relative familiarity of those events. We compared aIAT performance when participants reported recent vs. childhood autobiographical events, and when participants imagined vs. did not imagine a fabricated autobiographical event. The aIAT was less effective at distinguishing between real and fabricated events from childhood, compared to recent real and fabricated events. Imagining a fabricated event did not affect aIAT performance; however, there was a trend in the data suggesting imagination may have reduced the effect of event recency. Our results provide further evidence that reducing or enhancing source confusion—via familiarity—can influence the predictive value of the aIAT.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)453-461
    Number of pages9
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015


    • aIAT
    • Autobiographical memory
    • Familiarity
    • Implicit associations
    • Memory accuracy


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