A brighter side to memory illusions: False memories prime children's and adults' insight-based problem solving

Howe, M. L., Garner, S. R., Charlesworth, M. & Knott, L. (2010). A brighter side to memory illusions: False memories prime children's and adults' insight-based problem solving. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108(2), pp. 383-393. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2010.08.012

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Abstract

Can false memories have a positive consequence on human cognition? In two experiments we investigated whether false memories could prime insight problem-solving tasks. Children and adults were asked to solve compound remote associate task (CRAT) problems, half of which had been primed by the presentation of Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) lists whose critical lure was also the solution to the problem. In Experiment 1 the results showed that regardless of age, when the critical lure was falsely recalled, CRAT problems were solved more often and significantly faster than problems that were not primed by a DRM list. When the critical lure was not falsely recalled, CRAT problem solution rates and times were no different than when there was no DRM priming. In Experiment 2, without an intervening recall test, children and adults still exhibited higher solution rates and faster solution times to CRATs that were primed than CRATs that were not primed. This latter result shows that priming occurred as a result of false memory generation at encoding and not at retrieval during the recall test. Together these findings demonstrate that when false memories are generated at encoding they can prime solutions to insight-based problems in both children and adults.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Volume 108, Issue 2, February 2011, Pages 383–393, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2010.08.012.
Uncontrolled Keywords: False memory, Problem solving, Compound remote associates task, Memory and reasoning
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/4198

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