An investigation of encoding and retrieval processes in children's false memories in the DRM paradigm.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Furthering our understanding of children's memory mechanisms will expand our knowledge of ways to reduce false memory errors. Hege and Dodson (2004) found that adult participants who studied pictures later recalled items more accurately than participants who studied words. This demonstrated that encoding information in a distinctive manner can reduce false memories. The main aim of the present study was to explore whether using distinctive information within the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm can reduce false memories in children (Deese, 1959; Roediger & McDermott, 1995). Two hundred and forty-three eleven year-old children (mean age 11.5) studied pictures and words on a screen, each with an accompanying aural label. In contrast to the findings of Hege and Dodson, studying pictures did not reduce false memories in these participants. There were no significant encoding differences between children who studied pictures and children who studied words, as measured by the rate of falsely recalled non-presented critical lure words. Moreover, the children's average rate of recall of the false memories was very low (19.6%). This is just over half the rate reported by Hege and Dodson with adult subjects. On the other hand, manipulation of the test instructions at retrieval had a significant effect on the rate of recall of critical lures. Each group of participants received different retrieval instructions. As expected, the highest numbers of recalled critical lures occurred when subjects were asked to report studied items as well as related items (inclusion recall instructions). This study demonstrated the complex role of encoding and retrieval mechanisms in older children's memory processes, and showed that children do not appear to reduce false memories in a manner that is consistent with adults. The results are discussed in terms of children's processing of pictures and words, eleven-year-olds' semantic development, and links to fuzzy-trace theory.