Date of Award


Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Dr. Mark Huff

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Lin Agler

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Laura Gulledge

Committee Member 3 School

Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security


Exposure to misleading details about a previous event can become incorporated into memory—a pattern termed the misinformation effect. Recently, researchers have found evidence for two types of misinformation which differ qualitatively in how they relate to details presented in the initial event. Contradictory misinformation refers to suggested details that directly contrast specific details that were presented within the witnessed event. Additive misinformation refers to suggested details that supplement a witnessed event, but do not contrast a specific detail. My thesis evaluated whether misinformation is reduced following a strong warning to detect and highlight misinformation compared to no warning and whether misinformation reductions depend upon misinformation type. Further, age-related detection effects were evaluated by comparing groups of cognitively normal older adults to younger adults given older adults often show declines in controlled attentional processes that can compromise episodic memory and to produce larger misinformation effects. Finally, my thesis utilized video materials to bolster external validity. No difference was found in suggestibility to additive or contradictory misinformation types overall. However, older adults were more suggestible on a source recognition test. Importantly, when older adults were given a warning to detect misinformation, they were able to reduce misinformation to the same low level as younger adults without instructions. Collectively, instructions to detect misinformation are effective at reducing misinformation for additive and contradictory types, and particularly so for older adults.

Available for download on Friday, September 27, 2024