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Young children's understanding of conflicting mental representation predicts suggestibility.

Authors
  • Welch-Ross, M K
  • Diecidue, K
  • Miller, S A
Type
Published Article
Journal
Developmental psychology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
Volume
33
Issue
1
Pages
43–53
Identifiers
PMID: 9050389
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study examined the relation between developmental suggestibility effects and preschoolers' emerging ability to reason about conflicting mental representations (CMRs). Three- to 5-year-olds listened to a story accompanied by pictures. Following a 4-min delay, children answered straightforward and misleading questions about the story. One week later, their memory for the story was assessed. Children also completed tasks indexing their ability to reason about CMRs. Stepwise regression analyses revealed that suggestibility was negatively related to performance on CMR tasks. This finding remained significant after controlling for age, children's level of initial encoding of the event, and their ability to retrieve event details when not misled. An integration is proposed between children's theory of mind and source monitoring that may help to explain early developmental changes in suggestibility.

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