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Differentiating Fact From Fantasy - The Reliablity of Children's Memory

NCJ Number
Journal of Social Issues Volume: 40 Issue: 2 Dated: (1984) Pages: 33-50
M K Johnson; M A Foley
Date Published
18 pages
This paper examines a set of common assumptions about children's memory.
Children compared to adults are thought to notice less, omit more, forget faster, be more susceptible to suggestion, and especially to intermingle imagination and perception in remembering. These propositions are interesting from the point of view of theoretical models of memory and memory development. They also have important implications for legal practice. While children's tendency to recall less than adults is well documented, there is surprisingly little evidence for other deficits in children's memory. This paper describes a new line of research, directed at the question of whether children are worse than adults in discriminating real from imagined events in memory (reality monitoring). The results suggest that children may have difficulty with some, but not all, reality-monitoring situations. (Publisher abstract)