False memories of childhood experiences

False memories of childhood

We conducted two experiments to investigate if college students would create false memories of childhood experiences in response to misleading information and repeated interviews. In both experiments we contacted parents to obtain information about events that happened to the students during childhood. In a series of interviews we asked the students to recall the parent-reported events and one experimenter-created false event. In the second experiment we varied the age at which we claimed the false event occurred. In both experiments we found that some individuals created false memories in these circumstances and in the second experiment we found no effect of age of attempted incorporation. In the second experiment we also found that those who discussed related background knowledge during the early interviews were more likely to create a false recall. Generalizations to therapy contexts are discussed.

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