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Using story contexts to bias children's true and false memories

Howe, M. L. & Wilkinson, S. (2011). Using story contexts to bias children's true and false memories. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108(1), pp. 77-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2010.06.009


The effects of embedding standard Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) lists into stories whose context either biased interpretation towards or away from the overall theme of the DRM list on both true and false recognition were investigated with 7- and 11-year-olds. These biased story contexts were compared to the same children’s susceptibility to false memory illusions using the standard DRM list presentation paradigm. The results showed the usual age effects for true and false memories in the standard DRM list paradigm, where 11-year-olds exhibited higher rates of both true and false recognition compared to the 7-year-olds. Importantly, when DRM lists were embedded in stories, these age effects disappeared for true recognition. For false recognition, although developmental differences were attenuated, older children were still more susceptible to false memory illusions than younger children. These findings are discussed in terms of current theories of children’s false memories as well as the role of themes and elaboration in children’s memory development.

Publication 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 1, January 2011, Pages 77–95,
Publisher Keywords: Children’s false memories, DRM paradigm, Associative activation theory, Fuzzy trace theory, Memory development, Story memory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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