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An associative-activation theory of children's and adults' memory illusions

Howe, M. L., Wimmer, M. C., Gagnon, N. and Plumpton, S. (2009). An associative-activation theory of children's and adults' memory illusions. Journal of Memory and Language, 60(2), pp. 229-251. doi: 10.1016/j.jml.2008.10.002

Abstract

The effects of associative strength and gist relations on rates of children’s and adults’ true and false memories were examined in three experiments. Children aged 5–11 and university-aged adults participated in a standard Deese/Roediger–McDermott false memory task using DRM and category lists in two experiments and in the third, children memorized lists that differed in associative strength and semantic cohesion. In the first two experiments, half of the participants were primed before list presentation with gist-relevant cues and the results showed that: (1) both true and false memories increased with age, (2) true recall was higher than false recall for all ages, (3) at all ages, false memory rates were determined by backward associative strength, and (4) false memories varied predictably with changes in associative strength but were unaffected by gist manipulations (category structure or gist priming). In the third experiment, both gist and associative strength were varied orthogonally and the results showed that regardless of age, children’s (5) true recall was affected by gist manipulations (semantic cohesion) and (6) false recall was affected by backward associative strength. These findings are discussed in the context of models of false memory illusions and continuities in memory development more generally.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Memory and Language. 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 Memory and Language Volume 60, Issue 2, February 2009, Pages 229–251, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2008.10.002
Publisher Keywords: DRM paradigm, False memories, Associative-activation theory, Memory development, Children’s false memory, Semantic density, Fuzzy-trace theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
Related URLs:
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/4211
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