Children's spontaneous false memories have been the subject of considerable heat and little light recently. This research is testing several hypotheses about false memories for doctor visits that are accompanied by trauma to answer questions that bear on the accuracy of children's witness testimony. Prior research by these investigators has produced a theoretical framework (fuzzy-trace theory) that makes counterintuitive predictions about such important issues as: age variability in spontaneous memory falsifications, age variability in the effects of delay on memory falsification, the persistence of false memories over time, the tendency of mere memory testes to falsify the contents of memory, and the features of experienced events that are most prone to memory falsification. Three experiments will use a false-recognition procedure and will consist of four sessions. Participants will be 180 children between the ages of 23 and 8. Children's experiences to urgent-care clinics will be the focus of subsequent memory interviews to occur 1-3 days after the child sees the physician. Subsequent interviews occur at 6 month and 1 year intervals. Memory interviews will query events that the child did and those that her or she did not experience. False-recognition effect will be used to index spontaneous memory falsification. Differences in spontaneous memory falsification are being tracked as a function of several variables that have forensic relevance: frequency of experience with events, amount of prior interviewing, whether inferences have been made about events, whether inconsistent version of evens have been experienced. These data will resolve tow uncertainties in current scientific knowledge about children's false memories. These are that mere memory tests can create false memories that are stable over time and whether spontaneous false memory increase with age or delay between exposure to events and memory tests. %%% Children's spontaneous false memories have been the subject of considerable heat and little light recently. This research is testing several hypotheses about false memories for doctor visits that are accompanied by trauma to answer questions that bear on the accuracy of children's witness testimony. Prior research by these investigators has produced a theoretical framework (fuzzy-trace theory) that makes counterintuitive predictions about such important issues as: age variability in spontaneous memory falsifications, age variability in the effects of delay on memory falsification, the persistence of false memories over time, the tendency of mere memory testes to falsify the contents of memory, and the features of experienced events that are most prone to memory falsification. Three experiments will use a false-recognition procedure and will consist of four sessions. Participants will be 180 children between the ages of 23 and 8. Children's experiences to urgent-care clinics will be the focus of subsequent memory interviews to occur 1-3 days after the child sees the physician. Subsequent interviews occur at 6 month and 1 year intervals. Memory interviews will query events that the child did and those that her or she did not experience. False-recognition effect will be used to index spontaneous memory falsification. Differences in spontaneous memory falsification are being tracked as a function of several variables that have forensic relevance: frequency of experience with events, amount of prior interviewing, whether inferences have been made about events, whether inconsistent version of evens have been experienced. These data will resolve tow uncertainties in current scientific knowledge about children's false memories. These are that mere memory tests can create false memories that are stable over time and whether spontaneous false memory increase with age or delay between exposure to events and memory tests.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
Type
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
9730143
Program Officer
Paul J. Wahlback
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
1998-03-15
Budget End
2002-08-31
Support Year
Fiscal Year
1997
Total Cost
$250,275
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Arizona
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Tucson
State
AZ
Country
United States
Zip Code
85721