Kids' False Memories Reveal Quirks of Learning

Children are notoriously unreliable witnesses. Conventional wisdom holds that they frequently “remember” things that never happened. 

 A new study finds that children are just as susceptible to false memories as adults, if not more so. 

 Yet a large body of research indicates that adults actually generate more false memories than children.

 Yet a large body of research indicates that adults actually generate more false memories than children.

After a short break, they asked those participants whether they remembered seeing certain objects in each picture.

Instead of using word lists to investigate false memories, Otgaar and his colleagues showed participants pictures of scenes, including a classroom, a funeral and a beach. 

Across three experiments, seven- and eight-year-old children consistently reported seeing more objects that were not in the pictures than adults did.

 if they saw a classroom they might assume that they also saw pencils because pencils are usually found in classrooms. 

 Adults, on the other hand, draw more on specific details they recall to reconstruct a scene. 

Traditionally, researchers have explored false memories by presenting test subjects with a list of associated words (for instance, “weep,” “sorrow” and “wet”) .

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