Basic and Applied Memory Research: Practical Applications - Vol. 2

By Douglas J. Herrmann; Cathy McEvoy et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE Children's Memory Following Misleading Postevent Information: A Contextual Approach

Michael P. Toglia

Jeffery S. Neuschatz

State University of New York, Cortland

Helene Hembrooke

Stephen J. Ceci

Cornell University

Within the last 20 years, psychologists studying eyewitness memory have begun to investigate the factors and conditions that may influence memory impairment (cf. Belli & Loftus, in press; Ceci & Bruck, 1993). This research has fueled a controversy over the fate of original memory traces after a witness has been exposed to postevent information, especially when it is misleading. Sometimes the misinformation effect is observed, which refers to the inaccurate reporting of original information after exposure to biased or misleading information.

Loftus and her associates ( Greene, Flynn, & Loftus, 1982; Loftus & Palmer, 1974) repeatedly demonstrated a misinformation effect. The procedure that has been most frequently employed, the standard or original procedure, involves three phases. In the first phase subjects witness an event, which may be staged or presented via a film or slide sequence. For example, Loftus, Miller, and Burns ( 1978) asked subjects to watch a film of an accident in which a car runs a stop sign. During the second phase the subjects in the control condition are exposed to neutral information about a critical item. In this type of design (between-subjects) the subjects do not serve as their own controls. In contrast, subjects in the misled condition receive misleading or biased information about critical items. Loftus et al. ( 1978) told these subjects that the driver had passed through a yield sign. Stage three occurs at some later time when subjects in both conditions are asked, in the form of a forced-choice recognition test, to decide whether the initial sequence of events contained the misleading or original information (i.e., stop sign

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