Developmental reversals in false memory: Now you see them, now you don't!
|A developmental reversal in false memory is the counterintuitive phenomenon of higher levels of false memory in older children, adolescents, and adults than in younger children. The ability of verbatim memory to suppress this age trend in false memory was evaluated using the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. Seven and 11-year-old children studied DRM lists either in a standard condition (whole words) that normally produces high levels of false memory or in an alternative condition that should enhance verbatim memory (word fragments). Half the children took 1 recognition test, and the other half took 3 recognition tests. In the single-test condition, the typical age difference in false memory was found for the word condition (higher false memory for 11-year-olds than for 7-year-olds), but in the word fragment condition false memory was lower in the older children. In the word condition, false memory increased over successive recognition tests. Our findings are consistent with 2 principles of fuzzy-trace theory’s explanation of false memories: (a) reliance on verbatim rather than gist memory causes such errors to decline with age, and (b) repeated testing increases reliance on gist memory in older children and adults who spontaneously connect meaning across events.|