Research into memory for action events has been largely based on investigating the unique benefits enacting actions has on subsequent retrieval of those events from memory. While retrieving whether something happened at all is important, i.e. “Did the dog get fed?”, there are situations where it does not only matter if something happened but who the one responsible for the action was (Did Paul or I volunteer to raise money?) or whether an action was performed at all (“Did I take my medication or only mean to take it?).
Those situations require careful monitoring of where the retrieved memory originated. Source information is thought to not be encoded with every event stored in memory but instead needs to be inferred, if necessary, based on perceptual, temporal, or affective cues, for example.
Studies have shown that observing someone else perform an action can lead participants to later mistake that action as having been performed by themselves. In a recent study we were able to show, though, that alongside misattributions towards the self, participants also tend to misattribute self-performed actions towards others.
This research projects looks to investigate these kinds of bidirectional source misattributions and the mechanisms and processes that cause them. Do factors like task demands at encoding, group membership of actors and inter-individual characteristics of participants influence the degree with which these errors are committed? Are source misattributions in memory for action events different than those with verbal material? And finally, what do mirror network activation and source monitoring contribute to memory of action events that may be responsible for source misattributions?