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Emotional true and false memories in children with callous-unemotional traits

Thijssen, J., Otgaar, H., Howe, M. L. & de Ruiter, C. (2013). Emotional true and false memories in children with callous-unemotional traits. Cognition and Emotion, 27(4), pp. 761-768. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2012.744300


Several studies have found that children with callous-unemotional (CU) traits have a deficit in processing emotionally negative material. The present study examined whether this deficit also affects emotional memory. Twenty-two children with low CU traits and 24 children with high CU traits between 8 and 12 years of age were selected from a community sample and presented with neutral and negative emotional words, using the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm. On true recall, there was no difference between the groups. Both groups had higher true recall rates for the neutral word lists than for the negative lists. However, on false recall, although there were no group differences for neutral word lists, the high CU group recalled significantly fewer critical lures on the negative word lists than the low CU group. Furthermore, the high CU group had significantly less false recall on the negative word lists compared to the neutral word lists, while the low CU group showed no difference in false recall between the word lists. These results indicate that children with high CU traits have no deficiencies in true memory performance, yet are less susceptible to developing false memories concerning emotionally negative material.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cognition and Emotion on 19 Nov 2012, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Callous-unemotional traits, Emotional memory, DRM paradigm
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
PDF - Accepted Version
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