Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation presents 3 experiments that explore how people notice and remember a politician’s change in position. Subjects read position statements made by politicians at two different debates; sometimes the politicians were consistent across debates, sometimes they changed positions, and sometimes they only addressed an issue at Debate 2. Subjects recalled the positions from Debate 2 and reported whether they thought the politician had changed positions on that issue. The results showed that changing positions made it more difficult for people to remember a politician’s most recent position; however, recollecting that a change occurred eliminated that memory deficit. Experiment 1 explored how a voter’s political orientation influenced their ability to remember a politician’s position and whether recollecting change affected voter attitudes towards a politician. Experiment 2 showed that misleading information in the guise of a news report can affect later change recollection, but only if subjects are unable to verify the accuracy of the report. Finally, Experiment 3 showed that politicians can use specific language to make people believe a change occurred when there was actually none. The results of the experiments are discussed in relation to the recursive remindings framework, the misinformation paradigm, and the relationship between memory and attitudes.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Henry L Roediger

Committee Members

David A Balota, Ian G Dobbins, Kathleen B McDermott, James V Wertsch,


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