The Influence of Language on Memory for Object Location

Abstract

In this study, the influence of two types of language on memory for object location was investigated: demonstratives (this, that) and possessives (my, your). Participants read instructions (containing this/that/my/your/the) to place objects at different locations. They then had to recall those object locations. Experiments 1 and 2 tested the contrasting predictions of two possible accounts of language on memory: the expectation model (Coventry, Griffiths, & Hamilton, 2014) and the congruence account (Bonfiglioli, Finocchiaro, Gesierich, Rositani, & Vescovi, 2009). In Experiment 3, the role of attention as a possible mechanism was investigated. The results across all three experiments show striking effects of language on object location memory; objects in the “that” and “your” condition were misremembered to be further away than objects in the “this” and “my” condition. The data favored the expectation model: expected location cued by language and actual location are concatenated leading to (mis)memory for object location.


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