The production of spontaneous false memories across childhood

Henry Otgaar*, Mark L. Howe, Maarten Peters, Tom Smeets, Steffen Moritz

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    We found evidence that the usual developmental trends in children's spontaneous false memories were eliminated using novel stimuli containing obvious themes. That is, children created more false memories than adults when scenes needed to be remembered. In Experiment 1, 7- and 8-year-olds had higher false memory rates than adults when using visual scenes. Experiment 2 showed that gist cuing could not account for this effect. In Experiment 3, children and adults received visual scenes and story contexts in which these scenes were embedded. For both types of stimuli, we found that children had the highest false memory rates. Our results indicate that the underlying theme of these scenes is easily identified, resulting in our developmental false memory trend.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)28-41
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - May 2014


    • Development
    • DRM
    • False memory
    • Memory
    • Spreading activation
    • Suggestion


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