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Collaboration reduces the frequency of false memories in older and younger adults

Faculty Advisor




collaborative memory, false memories, aging, memory

Abstract (summary)

Older (mean age = 74.23) and younger (mean age = 33.50) participants recalled items from 6 briefly exposed household scenes either alone or with their spouses. Collaborative recall was compared with the pooled, nonredundant recall of spouses remembering alone (nominal groups). The authors examined hits, self-generated false memories, and false memories produced by another person's (actually a computer program's) misleading recollections. Older adults reported fewer hits and more self-generated false memories than younger adults. Relative to nominal groups, older and younger collaborating groups reported fewer hits and fewer self-generated false memories. Collaboration also reduced older people's computer-initiated false memories. The memory conversations in the collaborative groups were analyzed for evidence that collaboration inhibits the production of errors and/or promotes quality control processes that detect and eliminate errors. Only older adults inhibited the production of wrong answers, but both age groups eliminated errors during their discussions. The partners played an important role in helping rememberers discard false memories in older and younger couples. The results support the use of collaboration to reduce false recall in both younger and older adults.

Publication Information

Ross, M., Spencer, S., Blatz, C. W., & Restorick, E. (2008). Effect of collaboration on the memory accuracy of older and younger adults. Psychology and Aging, 23, 85-92. doi: 10.1037/0882-7974.23.1.85


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