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Contrasting memory for temporal-source and memory for content in children's discrimination of repeated events
journal contributionposted on 1997-08-01, 00:00 authored by Martine Powell, Don ThomsonDon Thomson
The current studies examined the separate roles that memory of temporal-source and memory of content play in children's discrimination of occurrences of a repeated event. The studies were also designed to determine the impact of age and retention interval on each of these components. In Experiment One, 4- to 5- versus 6- to 8-year-old children experienced six occurrences of a repeated event; each occurrence had the same underlying structure; however, a different version or instantiation of each item was included in each occurrence of the event. At either 1 or 6 week delay, the children were asked to recall which instantiation of the item was included in the final occurrence. In Experiment Two, children were required to recall as many instantiations as they could, prior to making a decision about which instantiation was included in the final occurrence. The results indicated that: (a) children's capacity to correctly identify the final instantiation declined over time and increased with age; (b) children's capacity to provide an instantiation that was temporally close to the final occurrence declined over time and increased with age; and (c) children's ability to remember the source of an instantiation decreased over time irrespective of any loss of memory for content. The results were discussed in relation to current theories of memory and children's eyewitness memory.