We described a patient, BG, who exhibited a striking pattern of false recognition after an infarction of the right frontal lobe. Seven experiments document the existence of the phenomenon, explore its characteristics, and demonstrate how it can be eliminated. BG showed pathologically high false alarm rates when stimuli were visual words (experiments 1 and 4), auditory words (experiment 2), environmental sounds (experiment 3), pseudowords (experiment 5), and pictures (experiment 7). His false alarms were not merely attributable to the semantic or physical similarity of studied and non-studied items (experiments 4 and 5). However, BG's false recognitions were virtually eliminated by presenting him with categorized stimuli and testing him with new stimuli from non-studied categories (experiments 6 and 7). The results suggest that BG's false alarms may be attributable to an over-reliance on memory for general characteristics of the study episode, along with impaired memory for specific items. The damaged right frontal lobe mechanisms may normally support the monitoring and/or retrieval processes that are necessary for item-specific recognition.
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