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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2012 Jan;38(1):204-10. doi: 10.1037/a0025160. Epub 2011 Aug 22.

Dividing attention lowers children's but increases adults' false memories.

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Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.


The present study examined the impact of divided attention on children's and adults' neutral and negative true and false memories in a standard Deese/Roediger-McDermott paradigm. Children (7- and 11-year-olds; n = 126) and adults (n = 52) received 5 neutral and 5 negative Deese/Roediger-McDermott word lists; half of each group also received a divided attention task. The results showed that divided attention affected children's and adults' false memory levels differently but did not alter true memory differently. Our results revealed a developmental shift in that divided attention lowered children's false memory rates but increased adults' false memory rates, regardless of the nature of the material (i.e., neutral or negative). Our study indicates that manipulations that target conscious processing (e.g., divided attention) result in marked qualitative and quantitative differences between children's and adults' false memories but not true memories.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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