Annotated Bibliography: False Memory and Children

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The study was trying to examine whether children with high callous-unemotional (CU) traits and children with low CU traits had different emotional memory. The high CU group was hypothesized to have fewer false memory on negative word lists than the low CU group; and bow groups should perform the same on neutral word lists. 46 elementary school children were recruited based on the responses on the CU subscale of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD) completed by their parents. Then, participated children completed the Deese Roediger McDermott (DRM) task in which they were encouraged to remember as many words as they could after hearing the emotionally neutral and negative word lists through the laptop.

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Results indicated that both groups performed the same on neutral and negative word lists for true recall, and they tended to remember more neutral word lists than negative word lists. For false recall, they performed the same on neutral word lists, however, the high CU group had less false memory on negative word lists than the low CU group. In addition, older children with low CU traits had significantly more false memory on negative word lists compared to younger children with low CU traits. The results suggested that children with high CU traits had functional emotional memory and were less susceptible to false memory on negative information.

This study aimed to examine the impact of divided attention on children and adults’ true and false recalls of emotionally neutral and negative word lists. It was hypothesized that all participants would falsely recall more neutral word lists than negative ones, and that dividing attention would decrease children’s false recall. Furthermore, dividing attention should not decrease, or might probably increase, adults’ false recall. In this study, 7-year-olds, 11-year-olds, and young adults were randomly assigned to either the full attention condition or the divided attention condition and encouraged to freely recall the neutral and negative word lists using Deese Roediger McDermott (DRM) paradigm. In the full attention condition, participants were asked to recall all the words they could remember after each word list was presented. In the divided attention condition, a green or red smiley would pop up randomly after each word, and participants were instructed to count verbally every time when they saw a red smiley. When all the words on the list were done presenting, they then started to freely recall the word list. The results showed that when attention was divided, all participants’ true recall was generally reduced, and children had significantly less false memory in contrast to adults. In addition, neutral words were significantly better remembered than negative words either falsely or correctly. In the full attention condition, 11-year-olds reported more neutral true recalls than negative ones; young adults reported more negative true recalls than neutral ones; and 7-year-olds performed no significant difference on the neutral and negative words. Also, 11-year-old significantly displayed more false memory compared to adults in the full attention condition, and demonstrated more false memory than 7-year-olds in both conditions. In conclusion, there was a developmental shift concerning the effect of divided attention on false memories, and this shift had nothing to do with emotion.

This study tried to investigate the extent to which children could be in?uenced to make omission and commission errors about ?ve critical details varying in terms of centrality including passenger, handshake, phone call, suitcase, and hat. It also aimed to differentiate true and false reports based on the amount of additional information provided. It was hypothesized that the effect of social influence for all ?ve critical details would be significant on both omission and commission errors, and more inaccurate answers were expected to be reported in the influence conditions than in the control conditions. In addition, children would provide more information on the critical details if it was a true recall. The children, accompanied by the confederate, were first exposed to a staged real-life event in which the critical details were only presented to half of the participants and absent for the rest to create omission-commision condition. After two weeks, children in the Control conditions were interviewed individually on what happened while children in the Influence conditions were interviewed with the confederate who intentionally provided false answers to the critical questions before the child answered. After the interview, all children were asked for additional information on all of the critical details being reported as present in the event. Results showed that social influence had a significant effect on two of the critical details that were actually seen/experienced, which were handshake and phone call; however, social in?uence had no signi?cant effect on all critical details that were absent in the event. What’s more, children who actually saw and reported the critical details were able to provide significantly more information than children who didn’t see yet reported the critical details. It was also found that some children would give rather detailed descriptions on things that were absent in the scene. The researchers concluded that it was problematic to predict how certain details in a scenario would be perceived in terms of centrality, and asking for additional details might or might not help distinguish true reports from false reports.

This study aimed to examine maltreated and nonmaltreated children’s ability to inhibit true and false recalls of the emotionally neutral and emotional word lists from the Deese/ Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. It was hypothesized that emotional words had a significant effect on all children’s true and false recalls, and maltreated children would exhibit either higher or lower rates of inhibition to true or false recalls of emotional memories compared to neutral ones and than that of nonmaltreated children. The study began by evaluating children’s maltreatment status by interviewing Mothers; Teachers were also asked to report observed behaviors of children related to dissociation. Then, children listened to two word lists containing neutral and emotional words individually. Some children were asked to remember all of the words from the two lists. Some children were instructed to forget about what they had heard on the first word list while listening to the second word lists, and later required to recall as many words as they could from both word lists. Children in the control condition only received one word list and circled pairs of letters as their second task. Results indicated that all children, regardless of their maltreatment status and age, were equally susceptibility to spontaneous false memory illusions and were more easily to forget neutral information than emotional information. Dissociation did not affect children’s susceptibility to misinformation. In conclusion, maltreatment children were able to accurately report their experiences including the emotional ones.

Baugerud, Howe, Magnussen, & Melinder. (2016). Maltreated and non-maltreated children’s true and false memories of neutral and emotional word lists in the Deese/Roediger–McDermott task. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 143, 102-110. DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2015.10.00This study elaborated on the above study and aimed to examine severely-maltreated children and nonmaltreated children’s ability to true and false recalls using neutral and emotional word lists from the Deese/ Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. The 8- to 12-year-old maltreated children in this study represented the most severe maltreatment cases handled by the Child Protective Services (CPS) and were ordered to be removed from biological families by courts a year ago. Children were given the DRM task and encouraged to freely recall as many words as possible after the neutral and emotional word list blocks were presented. Their intelligence were also evaluated. Results indicated that severely maltreated children significantly performed poorer on free recalls of both neutral and emotional word lists. Socioeconomic status did not contribute to such differences in memory performance. Moreover, maltreated children had more false recalls of emotional words than nonmaltreated children. The false recall rates for neutral and emotional words were the same for nonmaltreated children. In conclusion, severely-maltreated children had trouble remembering words and were more vulnerable to false memories for negative information compared to nonmaltreated children.

This study examines how maltreatment affected children’s spontaneous and suggestion-induced false memory using the Deese/ Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm and misinformation paradigm. It was hypothesized that maltreated children would show more spontaneous false memories on emotionally negative words than nonmaltreated children, and misinformation effect would be the same for all children. The maltreated children recruited were suspected to experience severe forms of sexual or physical abuse. The order of the paradigms were counterbalanced. During the DRM procedure, children were asked to do a recognition task after listening to some emotionally neutral or negative DRM words. For the misinformation paradigm, children were asked to do another recognition task on what they had previously saw on the laptop and heard from the witness. Levels of intelligence and association were also measured. It was found that maltreated children reported more false recalls and were less susceptible to suggestion-induced false memory than nonmaltreated children; however, for spontaneous false memory, the reverse was true. In conclusion, trauma did affect memory and the effect could be both positive or negative.

The study tried to investigate the extent to which reports of the rumor following the warning was due to source monitoring issue or driven by a genuine belief in seeing. It was hypothesized that 3- and 4-year-olds might falsely report seeing the rumored event with great details more than 5- and 6-year-olds after being warned of the false rumor. In addition, if the warning did make children engaged in more source monitoring, the warned children should report less about not only the rumor but also the actual event, comparing with the unwarned children. In contrast, the Warned children’s report on the actual event should remain intact if compliance to social pressure of the warning happened instead. In this study, 216 young children watched a scripted magic show at their schools. Children in the Overheard condition were exposed to a false rumor about the show from an adult confederate. Children in the Classmate condition heard about the rumors from their peers, the Overheard children, in later interactions. Children in the Control condition were never exposed to the rumor.

One week later, all children were interviewed about the show. During this interview, some of the Overheard and Classmate children were constantly warned that the rumor was false therefore should not be reported. The Warned children who reported the rumored event were then asked to specify whether they actually seeing or merely hearing about it. The results indicated that the warning of false rumor reduced the likelihood of false report of the rumor from the Overheard children. However, the warning was only effective on older Classmate children but not on younger Classmate children. Moreover, younger Classmate children were more likely to recall and report seeing the nonexisting rumored event with great details. Some Warned children reported less on everything in general, and other Warned children reported the rumor but failed to identify the source. Both indicated that the effect of source monitoring was taking place other than social pressure. In conclusion, younger children were more susceptible to develop false beliefs on false information, and reports of the rumor following the warning was mainly because of source monitoring issue.

The study was designed to examine how memory could be influenced by false rumors and natural discussion of an event. Specifically, researchers were interested in knowing how young children naturally spread the rumor they overheard. They wondered whether its propagation would be different if the informant was an adult other than their peer, and to what extent they were able to distinguish experienced details from overheard details of the event. The study also investigated the changes in children’s memory over time. This study replicated the procedure of the above study partially. 3- to 6-year-olds watched a scripted magic show in groups. Children in the Overheard condition heard a false rumor transmitted by an adult confederate. Children in the Classmate condition heard the rumor from their peers, the Overheard children, in later interactions. Children in the Control condition didn’t hear the rumor and had no interaction with the other two groups.

The post-rumor conversational interactions between Overheard children and Classmate children was recorded. All children were interviewed twice on what happened in 1 and 4 weeks after the magic show. Results showed that the more children actively engaged in post-rumor conversations, the more significant effect it had on later memory. Although all Overheard children and Classmate children reported experiencing the rumored event, the Classmate children were a lot more likely to falsely recall the rumored event with more narrative details than the Overheard children at both interviews; and most false recalls were in response to open-ended questions. Furthermore, 3- and 4-year-olds didn’t engage in the rumored conversations as much as the 5- and 6-year-olds. However, they were more likely to report actually seeing the nonexisting rumored event than the 5- and 6-year-olds. Older children were more likely to include details in their false recall compared to younger children. In conclusion, false rumors planted by peers was a lot more damaging to young children’s memory and more likely to be transmitted with invented details than the ones planted by adults.

The aim of the study was to investigate whether test-induced-priming (TIP) could increase children’s false recognition. The study also wanted to compare the effects of TIP on DRM lists, categorized lists, and lists of phonological associates. 5-, 7-, 9-, 11-year-olds were asked to listen to three 4-word-lists blocks containing all word list types. For each list, half of the critical lures were preceded by studied items while half of them were not. Children were instructed to perform a 10 s distraction task after the presentation of the last word list in the block, and then asked to say yes to the recognition task, which consisted of studied items, critical lures, and unrelated items, only when they were certain of the answer. The study found that TIP increased 9- and 11-year-olds’ false recognition on all list types. However, it had no effect on 5- or 7-year-olds with any list type. 5-year-olds were more easily to false recall critical lures from phonological lists, while 11-year-olds were more susceptible to false memory from DRM lists. 7- and 9-year-olds showed no difference on the list types. In conclusion, the processes that supported TIP not only developed late in childhood but also were independent of list type; the ability to generate associates in response to test items developed with age.

This study wanted to investigate whether stress and emotional valence affected children and adolescent’s true and false memory differently. It was hypothesized that true and false recalls would increase with age; negative were expected to be recalled the most compared to positive and neutral words. High-stress situation would further enhance the memory of emotional words especially the negative ones. In the study, physiological equipments were placed on children to monitor their automatic responses. Once comfortable, they chatted with the researcher casually as a baseline activity. They then were escorted to a seperate room where either high-stress or low-stress Trier Social Stress Test-Modified (TSST-M) was performed. They talked with the researcher casually again as a post-task activity. Then their electrodes were removed, and they shared their feelings on the TSST-M. Next, they were asked to remember lists of neutral, positive, and negative words. Then they completed a recognition task in which they indicated whether each item was “old” or “new” and provided a remember-know judgement. There were numerous samples of saliva were collected throughout the experiment. The study found that emotional words were better remembered than neutral words despite of its accuracy, and adolescents reported false memory on critical lures more than children did. The adolescents in the high-stress condition had higher hit rates collapsed on emotional words than those in low-stress condition. All children in the high-stress condition reported more true recalls on emotional words. In conclusion, stress helped to improve true recalls and had no effect on false memory, and adolescents’ memory was sensitive to emotional words compared to neutral words.

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Annotated Bibliography: False Memory and Children. (2021, May 14). Retrieved from