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ERIC Number: EJ889627
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Adaptive Memory: Survival Processing Increases Both True and False Memory in Adults and Children
Otgaar, Henry; Smeets, Tom
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v36 n4 p1010-1016 Jul 2010
Research has shown that processing information in a survival context can enhance the information's memorability. The current study examined whether survival processing can also decrease the susceptibility to false memories and whether the survival advantage can be found in children. In Experiment 1, adults rated semantically related words in a survival, moving, or pleasantness scenario. Even though the survival advantage was demonstrated for true recall, there also was an unexpected increase in false memories in the survival condition. Similarly, younger and older children in Experiment 2 displayed superior true recall but also higher rates of false memories in a survival condition. Experiment 3 showed that in adults false memories were also more likely to occur in the survival condition when categorized lists instead of Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM)-like word lists were used. In all three experiments, no survival recall advantage was found when net accuracy scores that take the total output into account were used. These findings question whether survival processing is an adaptive memory strategy per se, as such processing not only enriches true recall but simultaneously amplifies the vulnerability to false memories. (Contains 3 footnotes and 5 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands