Document Type


Article Version


Publication Date



Creating a mental image of one’s own performance, observing someone else performing an action, and viewing a photograph of a completed action all can lead to the illusory recollection that one has performed this action. While there are fundamental differences in the nature of these three processes, they are aligned by the fact that they involve primarily or solely the visual modality. According to the source-monitoring framework, the corresponding visual memory traces later can be mistakenly attributed to self-performance. However, when people perform actions, they do not only engage vision, but also other modalities, such as auditory and tactile systems. The present study focused on the role of audition in the creation of false beliefs about performing an action and explored whether auditory cues alone—in the absence of any visual cues—can induce false beliefs and memories for actions. After performing a series of simple actions, participants listened to the sound of someone performing various actions, watched someone perform the actions, or simultaneously both heard and saw someone perform them. Some of these actions had been performed earlier by the participants and others were new. A later source-memory test revealed that all three types of processing (hearing, seeing, or hearing plus seeing someone perform the actions) led to comparable increases in false claims of having performed actions oneself. The potential mechanisms underlying false action-memories from sound and vision are discussed.


Copyright 2015 Springer. A post-print has been archived with permission from copyright holder. The final publication is available at Springer via

Publication Title

Psychonomic bulletin & review

Published Citation

Lindner, Isabel, and Linda A. Henkel. "Confusing what you heard with what you did: False action-memories from auditory cues." Psychonomic bulletin & review 22.6 (April 2015): 1791-1797. DOI:10.3758/s13423-015-0837-0



Peer Reviewed