False memories in the Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm are explained in terms of the interplay between error-inflating and error-editing (e.g., monitoring) mechanisms. In this study, we focused on disqualifying monitoring, a decision process that helps to reject false memories through the recollection of collateral information (i.e., recall-to-reject strategies). Participants engage in recall-to-reject strategies using one or two metacognitive processes: (1) applying the logic of mutual exclusivity or (2) experiencing feelings of contrast between studied items and unstudied lures. We aimed to provide, for the first time in the DRM literature, evidence favorable to the existence of a recall-to-reject strategy based on the experience of feelings of contrast. One hundred and forty participants studied six-word DRM lists (e.g., spy, hell, fist, fight, abduction, mortal), simultaneously associated with three critical lures (e.g., WAR, BAD, FEAR). Lists differed in their ease to identify their critical lures (extremely low-BAS lists vs. high-BAS lists). At recognition test, participants saw either one or the three critical lures of the lists. Participants in the three-critical-lure condition were expected to increase their monitoring, as they would experience stronger feelings of contrast than the participants in the one-critical-lure condition. Results supported our hypothesis, showing lower false recognition in the three-critical-lure condition than in the one-critical-lure condition. Critically, in the three-critical-lure condition, participants reduced even more false memory when they could also resort to another monitoring strategy (i.e., identify-to-reject). These findings suggest that, in the DRM context, disqualifying monitoring could be guided by experiencing feelings of contrast between different types of words.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes