Reality monitoring in recovering alcoholics

Laura J. Burnett, Philip H. Marshall, Robert W. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: The major aim of this study was to provide confirmation of the lack of metamemory deficits found in previous research, and we chose reality monitoring as our empirical arena. Reality monitoring is defined as the ability to distinguish between memories for events that have actually occurred and memories for imagined events, with actual events characterized by higher levels of sensory-perceptual information. Further, since detoxified alcoholics have demonstrated perceptual, especially visual, deficits, this study examined whether that would have an adverse effect on reality- monitoring performance. Method: Young adult, male, detoxified alcoholics (n = 60) and appropriate controls (n = 29) participated in reality-monitoring tasks using, primarily, either visual or verbal information. Results: There were no significant differences between the two subject groups on either of the reality monitoring tasks, and no significant contributions from descriptive, background or educational variables on these tasks. Conclusions: Convergent validation of the previous finding of no metamemory deficits with young, male, recovering alcoholics was obtained. The results also were discussed briefly in the context of alcoholics' quality of memory in therapeutic situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-216
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1996


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