Working memory capacity, short-term memory capacity, and the continued influence effect: A latent-variable analysis

Christopher R. Brydges, Gilles E. Gignac, Ullrich K.H. Ecker

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Misinformation often affects inferences and judgments even after it has been retracted and discredited. This is known as the continued influence effect. Memory processes have been theorized to contribute to the continued influence effect, and much previous research has focussed on the role of long-term memory processes at the time misinformation is retrieved during inferential reasoning and judgments. Recently, however, experimental research has focussed upon the role of working memory (WM) processes engaged in the updating and integration of information, when the retraction is encoded. From an individual differences perspective, susceptibility to continued influence effects should be predicted by a person's WM abilities, if continued reliance on misinformation is influenced, at least in part, by insufficient integration of the initial misinformation and its subsequent retraction. Consequently, we hypothesized that WM capacity would predict susceptibility to continued influence effects uniquely and more substantially than short-term memory (STM) capacity. Participants (N = 216) completed a continued-influence task, as well as a battery of WM and STM capacity tasks. Based on a latent variable model, our hypothesis was supported (WM capacity: β = −0.36, p =.013; STM capacity: β = 0.22, p =.187). Consequently, we suggest that low WM capacity is a measurable “risk factor” for continued reliance on misinformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-122
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


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