Interactions between spontaneous instantiations to the basic level and post-event suggestions

Ainat Pansky, Einat Tenenboim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extensive research shows that post-event suggestions can distort the memory for a target event. In this study we examined the effect of such suggestions as they interact with the products of a spontaneous memory process: instantiation of abstract information to an intermediate level of abstractness, the basic level (Pansky & Koriat, 2004). Participants read a narrative containing items presented at the superordinate level (e.g., FRUIT), were exposed to suggestions that referred to these items at the basic level (e.g., APPLE), and were finally asked to recall the original items. We found that the tendency to instantiate spontaneously in the control (non-misleading) condition, particularly over time, increased following exposure to suggestions that were likely to coincide with those instantiations. Exposure to such suggestions, either immediately or following a 24-hour delay, reduced subsequent correct recall of the original items only if the suggested information coincided with the information one tends to instantiate spontaneously in a given context. Suggestibility, in this case, was particularly pronounced and phenomenologically compelling in terms of remember/know judgements. The findings are taken to imply that effects of post-event suggestions can be understood in terms of the constructive processes that set the stage for their occurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-915
Number of pages15
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Address correspondence to: Ainat Pansky, Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel. E-mail: This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant 898/03-34.2) awarded to Ainat Pansky.


  • Constructive memory
  • False memory
  • Instantiation
  • Misinformation effect
  • Suggestibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Interactions between spontaneous instantiations to the basic level and post-event suggestions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this