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

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

tendency to claim "You did it!" rather than "I did it!" when a new item was incorrectly classified as old ( Foley et al., 1983; Johnson et al., 1981). In these cases, responses were unrelated to each other and were not performed for any purpose other than to meet the experimenter's requests to perform individual speech acts (e.g., repeating words, generating associates).

Our previous work seemed to refute the "encoding failure" interpretation of the misattribution bias because no bias occurred when the experimenter was not present to position her pieces. Nevertheless, it was still plausible that the other person's pieces were not encoded at all, or as well, in the context of an exchange because the child was "caught up" in her own thoughts or actions. The fact that children were equally good at recognizing pieces placed by themselves and those placed by the adult provides further refutation that encoding failures can explain the misattribution bias. In conclusion, our findings converge to suggest that the bias we have observed is mediated by cognitive operations information. In future studies we will need to determine whether these operations reflect anticipations of the others' actions as we have suggested and when anticipations occur. Indeed, the boundary conditions for defining events as collaborative in nature warrants further attention and will help determine when anticipations are likely to occur. What makes an event a collaborative one? Do these boundary conditions vary with development? For an event to be collaborative in nature, a younger child may require the physical presence of another, directly witnessing that person's contributions, in order for this person to be a resource, activating mechanisms of appropriation (e.g., anticipations, re-creations of actions). In contrast an older child or adult may not require the physical presence of another to perceive an activity as a collaborative one. Nonetheless, for all age groups, the incidence of cryptomnesia may be tied to the physical presence of another, regardless of age, because it may be in these circumstances that the individual is most susceptible to confusion between memories for responses he or she anticipated making and responses actually produced by the collaborator.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We would like to express our thanks to the staff members of the Skidmore Nursery School Program and the Beagle School as well as to the children attending these programs for their continued help.


REFERENCES

Belli, R. F., Lindsay, D. S., Gales, M. S., & McCarthy, T. ( 1994). Memory impairment and sourcemisattribution in postevent misinformation experiments with short retention intervals. Memory & Cognition, 22, 40-54.

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