Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Michael Toglia

Second Advisor

Dr. Juliana Leding

Department Chair

Dr. Michael Toglia

College Dean

Dr. Barbara A. Hetrick


In this study we investigated the role of semantic-processing on memory for Spanish-English bilinguals using the DRM paradigm (Deese, 1959; Roediger & McDermott, 1995), a procedure commonly used to elicit false memories. Participants were tested in within-language (i.e., encoding language and recall language match) and across-language (i.e., encoding language and recall language mismatch). The results indicated higher levels of recall for semantic processing in all conditions, however at the cost of higher thematically-related intrusions. These findings are consistent with the “more is less” pattern (Toglia, Neuschatz, & Goodwin, 1999), wherein greater correct recall is accompanied by greater false recall. In addition, the cross-language conditions resulted in higher semantically relevant intrusions and lower recall overall when compared to the within-language conditions, what might be termed “less is less.” Across all conditions non-semantic processing led to fewer false memories leading to overall accuracy exceeding that in the semantic-processing. In addition, greater levels of accuracy were observed in the within-language conditions. The study highlights the effects of semantic-processing on associative memory by exploring linguistic conditions that lead to false memories and provides insight into the procedure involved in transferring information from one language at encoding and another at retrieval and how false memories occur during this transferring process. Spanish-English bilinguals represent more than half of all bilinguals in the United States, and this population continues to increase (Grosjean, 2012). Implications for forensic interviewing (as in avoiding suspect interrogations always being conducted in English) and eyewitness testimony are among the applications that are discussed.