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J Exp Child Psychol. 1998 Nov;71(2):194-209.

Fuzzy-trace theory and false memory: new frontiers.

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Informatics and Decision Making Laboratory of Surgery and Medicine, University of Arizona, Tuscon 85724-2752, USA.


We describe the origins of fuzzy-trace theory, including Piagetian, interference, information-processing, and judgment and decision-making influences. The contrasting properties of gist and verbatim memory serve as its foundation and, in recent models of spontaneous and implanted false memories, explain seemingly contradictory developmental trends, such as reverse developmental findings, differential time courses for true and false memories, and conflicting effects of trace strength. However, approaches that integrate fuzzy-trace theory with neurological, social, emotional, and motivational perspectives are needed. A method for accomplishing this integration, using the recent models, is introduced and new research that spans these perspectives is discussed. Relations to other contemporary theories, especially source-monitoring and dual-process theories, are also explained. We conclude by rejecting the notion that spontaneous false memories are actually "true" and distinguish gist and verbatim senses of the term "true" that have different consequences in real life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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