John Kiat

All of the choices we make and the experiences we have ultimately end up stored in memory. When retrieved, we have to infer whether a particular memory is true or if it changed over time. In theory, this can be a long and effortful process but in practicality, most of these decisions are made fairly rapidly. When you think about what you ate yesterday for instance, few would spend hours in contemplation before deciding their recollections were true. Nonetheless, research has shown that many of our recollections are biased—painting a rosier picture of reality—or outright false. Such distortions have been shown to have considerable psychological (Bernstein & Loftus, 2009), legal (Loftus, 2003) and even political consequences (Frenda et al., 2013). Building on current interest in understanding the processes differentiating true and false memories (Johnson, Raye, Mitchell, & Ankudowich, 2012) and integrating attentional processes with memory (Kiyonaga & Egner, 2013), my secondary line of research focuses on how attentional biases lead to memory distortions


Applying new techniques to well-established paradigms, while challenging, has lots of potential with regards to making valuable contributions to a field. To that end, I developed an EEG-friendly version of the well-established misinformation effect paradigm drawing on the materials of Okado & Stark (2005) and conducted an exploratory investigation with a college student sample, utilizing a 24-hour delay between event + misinformation exposure and test. My findings (published in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory)  showed the neural signature of true memories to display evidence of increased levels of attentional and recollective activity relative to false memories, suggesting a possible mechanism for distinguishing between true and false event memories (at least on a relative ranking scale) within a reasonable period of intervening time.

We’ve recently wrapped up a series of projects investigating oscillatory encoding activity on the misinformation paradigm and linking basic attentional processes to misinformation susceptibility (which arecurrently under review so gotta wait till we know more) so watch this space for more news on that soon~! One thing I can share from that project is this beautiful P300 component extraction result. Absolutely gorgeous…..

Relevant Publications\Posters

Kiat, J.E., Belli, R.F. A High-Density EEG Investigation of Misinformation Effect : Differentiating between True and False Perceptual Episodic Memories. 141, 199-208.

Kiat, J.E., Belli, R.F. (2015, November). A High-Density EEG investigation of the Misinformation Effect: Differentiating between True and False Memories. Poster presented at the Psychonomic Society Annual Scientific Meeting, Chicago, IL. Poster Link

Kiat, J.E., Belli, R.F. Neural Activity during Event Encoding and Subsequent False Memory Formation Susceptibility. (in review)

Kiat, J.E., Long, D., Belli, R.F. Attentional Responses on the Auditory Oddball predict False Memory Susceptibility. (in review)


This line of research draws on some of my earliest and still ongoing research efforts. After trying for two years to isolate reliable individual difference factors related to false memory susceptibility (and not achieving too much success), I started to get interested in modality effects in false memory phenomena.

Simply put. What factors differentiate different types of false memories such as mistaking stuff we read as having actually been seen versus getting things wrong the other way around (mistaking seen stuff for having been read).


Are these types of errors related? And if so in what way? Do their underlying processes overlap or are they fairly distinct?

Thus far I’ve uncovered several intriguing effects including linking the misinformation effect with a specific class of basic source monitoring errors and showing that two classes of source-monitoring errors that the field of memory research has typically considered to be equivalent to actually be strongly negatively correlated. These results are intriguing and I’m currently in the process of replicating them with various extensions (most of this stuff’s linked with my dissertation work so likely I’ll be submitting a whole bunch of papers at one go once things wrap on on that front). I hope to have several papers focused on these results out for review come Spring 2018.

Relevant Manuscripts

Kiat, J.E., Belli, R.F. Linking Visual/Verbal Styles of Processing & Picture-Word Source Monitoring (in preparation)

Kiat, J.E., Belli, R.F. A High-Density EEG investigation of Source Monitoring Feature Retrieval Differences. (in preparation)

Kiat, J.E., Belli, R.F. Linking Individual Differences in Misinformation Susceptibility & Perceptual Source Monitoring Ability. (in preparation)

Kiat, J.E., Belli, R.F. Links between Verbal False Memories Recognition Responses on a Picture-Word Source-Monitoring Task and Misinformation Susceptibility. (in preparation)

Kiat, J.E., Belli, R.F. A Large Sample Study of Individual Differences in False Memory Susceptibility.

Kiat, J.E., Belli, R.F. (2014, November). Event Representation in the Misinformation Paradigm. Poster presented at the Psychonomic Society Annual Scientific Meeting, Long Beach, CA. Poster Link