The malleability of developmental trends in neutral and negative memory illusions

H. Otgaar, M. L. Howe, N. Brackmann, T. Smeets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Among many legal professionals and memory researchers there exists the assumption that susceptibility to false memory decreases with age. In 4 misinformation experiments, we show that under conditions that focus on the meaning of experiences, children are not always the most susceptible to suggestion-induced false memories. We begin by presenting a short overview of previous developmental false memory studies, the majority of which have found that the susceptibility to misinformation decreases with age. In Experiment 1, 6/7-year-olds, 11/12-year-olds, and adults received a video and were confronted with misinformation about related but nonpresented details. Older children and adults had higher misinformation acceptance rates than younger children. In Experiment 2, we replicated this finding adding a younger child group (4/6-year-olds). In Experiments 3 and 4, we used new material and again found that susceptibility to misinformation increased with age. Together, these experiments show that children’s memory accuracy is not necessarily inferior to that of adults.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-55
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology-General
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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