Memory is prone to illusions. When people are presented with lists of words associated with a non-presented critical lure, they produce a high level of false recognitions (false memories) for non-presented related stimuli indistinguishable, at the explicit level, from presented words (DRM paradigm). We assessed whether true and false DRM memories can be distinguished at the implicit level by using the autobiographical IAT (aIAT), a novel method based on indirect measures that permits to detect true autobiographical events encoded in the respondent’s mind/brain. In our experiment, after a DRM task participants performed two aIATs: the first aimed at testing implicit memory for presented words (true-memories aIAT) and the second aimed at evaluating implicit memory for critical lures (false-memories aIAT). Specifically, the two aIATs assessed the association of presented words and critical lures with the logical dimension “true.” Results showed that the aIAT detected a greater association of presented words than critical lures with the logical dimension “true.” This result indicates that although true and false DRM memories are indistinguishable at the explicit level a different association of the true and false DRM memories with the logical dimension “true” can be detected at the implicit level, and suggests that the aIAT may be a sensitive instrument to detect differences between true and false DRM memories.
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