Emotional false memories in children with learning disabilities

Chiara Mirandola, Nunzia Losito, Simona Ghetti, Cesare Cornoldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Research has shown that children with learning disabilities (LD) are less prone to evince associative illusions of memory as a result of impairments in their ability to engage in semantic processing. However, it is unclear whether this observation is true for scripted life events, especially if they include emotional content, or across a broad spectrum of learning disabilities. The present study addressed these issues by assessing recognition memory for script-like information in children with nonverbal learning disability (NLD), children with dyslexia, and typically developing children (N = 51). Participants viewed photographs about 8 common events (e.g., family dinner), and embedded in each episode was either a negative or a neutral consequence of an unseen action. Children's memory was then tested on a yes/. no recognition task that included old and new photographs. Results showed that the three groups performed similarly in recognizing target photographs, but exhibited differences in memory errors. Compared to other groups, children with NLD were more likely to falsely recognize photographs that depicted an unseen cause of an emotional seen event and associated more "Remember" responses to these errors. Children with dyslexia were equally likely to falsely recognize both unseen causes of seen photographs and photographs generally consistent with the script, whereas the other participant groups were more likely to falsely recognize unseen causes rather than script-consistent distractors. Results are interpreted in terms of mechanisms underlying false memories' formation in different clinical populations of children with LD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

Keywords

  • Emotional content
  • False memories
  • Specific learning disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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