Braun, Loftus & Ellis- Reconstructive Memory (2002)

  • Created by: Ciara2003
  • Created on: 26-01-19 14:07

Braun et al- Reconstructive Memory (2002)-PART 1

Aim  To see whether autobiographical advertising can distort memories or cause memories to be reconstructed.

Sample  107 undergraduates from a Midwestern university in the USA (64 female, 43 male). Participants recieved course credit for their involvement.


  • Participants were split into two groups: the disney advert and control group.
  • Participants took a questionnaire (life events inventory) and were given other tasks to reduce demand characteristics.
  • After watching the advert participants rated it on a likert scale and did a distraction task. the experimenter then came in looking 'panicked' and said there was a problem with the first questionnaires and asked them to fill them in again.
  • Participants were given the disney or control adverts by a second experimenter and were asked to visualise themselves in the advert.
  • Participants did a second distraction task and were then asked if they'd ever been to Disney World and if so to describe their memory of it
  • Finally, participants were asked to guess the aim to test for demand characteristics.
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Braun et al- Reconstructive Memory (2002)-PART 1


  • 65% of the experimental group mentioned memories of Disney World.
  • 74% said that the advert had made them imagine the experience.
  • The experimental group were much more confidend about having shook hands with a character meaning that they were more likely to have confabulated.
  • No demand characteristics were found when asked to guess the aim of the experiment.


  • Isn't genralisable because the experimend has age, culture and gender bias.
  • Although there was deceit, participants were debreifed so the experiment was still ethical.
  • Had inter-rater reliability as two experimenters were used.
  • Double blind as neither the experimenters or participants knew who was in each group.
  • Has high ecological validity.
  • Has a standardised procedure.
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Braun et al- Reconstructive Memory (2002)-PART 2

The second experiment was conducted in the same way as the previous one, however three adverts were used.

Sample  167 undergraduates from the same university (104 female, 63 male).

Adverts Used  One suggested that they had shook hands with Bugs Bunny (imposible), one sugested that they shook hands with Ariel and the final advert was a non-autobiographical disney advert.


  • The Bugs Bunny advert scored the most on how involved the participant felt with 5.1/8. Ariel scored 4.8 and the control advert scored 3.1.
  • All groups showed an increase in confidence that they had shaken hands with a character.
  • Bugs Bunny- 78% increase
  • Ariel- 76%
  • Control-62%
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Braun et al- Reconstructive Memory (2002)-PART 2


  • Has age, culture and gender bias so it isn't genralisable.
  • Has a standardised procedure making it reliable.
  • Has high ecological validity and medium construct and population validity.
  • Supported by further research.
  • Ethical as participants were debriefed after the experiment.


From the experiment you can derive that autobiographical adverts have the ability to change memories of past experiences and can cause individuals to confabulate. The results of he experiment support the Theory of Reconstructive Memory.

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