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The Malleability of Developmental Trends in Neutral and Negative Memory Illusions

Otgaar, H., Howe, M. L., Brackmann, N. & Smeets, T. (2016). The Malleability of Developmental Trends in Neutral and Negative Memory Illusions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(1), pp. 31-55. doi: 10.1037/xge0000127


Among many legal professionals and memory researchers there exists the assumption that susceptibility to false memory decreases with age. In four misinformation experiments, we show that under conditions that focus on the meaning of experiences, children are not always the most susceptible to suggestion-induced false memories. We begin by presenting a short overview of previous developmental false memory studies, the majority of which have found that the susceptibility to misinformation decreases with age. In Experiment 1, 6/7-year-olds, 11/12-year-olds, and adults received a video and were confronted with misinformation about related but non-presented details. Older children and adults had higher misinformation acceptance rates than younger children. In Experiment 2, we replicated this finding adding a younger child group (4/6-year-olds). In Experiments 3 and 4, we used new material and again found that susceptibility to misinformation increased with age. Together, these experiments show that children’s memory accuracy is not necessarily inferior to that of adults’.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Published here This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Publisher Keywords: False memory; Memory development; Suggestion; Misinformation; Developmental reversal
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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