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Children's False Memories

Autor:   •  January 3, 2017  •  Essay  •  444 Words (2 Pages)  •  177 Views

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There are studies that show that it is quite easy to elicit false memories in both adults and children. Some studies use photographs and others just narrate the false information to elicit the false memories in adults and children. A study by (Henry Otgaar et al, 2008), shows that it is easier for children to develop false memories when exposed to those false information. A combination of narratives and photographs were used.

Seventy six children who were currently in the second grade participated in an experiment. Their grade one teachers fed the children with four events; two false and two true plus photographic information that occurred in grade one. The children were selected randomly and assigned one of the four events. They were interviewed twice with the duration of one week apart. There were 156 true events and 156 false events that were to be re called by the students.

Results showed that only 80% of the true events were recalled during the first interview and 89% of the true events were recalled in the second interview. For the false events, during interview one only 57% of the children developed false memories. Some of the children were given guided imaginations and reinstatement techniques and of these only 23% developed a false memory. During the second interview, 76% of the children had developed a false memory. After using the guided imagery and context reinstatement technique, only 3% more could recall the false event in the second interview.

 The aim of the study was to examine the role of the valence of false target events in the development of children’s false memories. The results show that feeding of negative information to children increases their susceptibility to develop false memories. It was found in children that exposure to a recent photograph did not enhance the development of false information as opposed to adults.

The results of the experiment are in agreement with past studies that indeed show that children are more susceptible to develop false memories from suggestive information. However, there are some studies whose findings are not in agreement and suggest that a negative event elicits fewer or a similar number of false memories as compared with a true event. This is thrown out by the results in the experiment. The findings in the experiment can be used in the legal arena in instances where children are needed to recall information. We can state clearly in conclusion that exposure to false information can lead to development of false memories.


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