The Role of Similarity in Constructive Memory: Evidence from Tasks with Children and Adults


Literature on memory research shows that when memorizing, people may blend two situations, i.e. when memorizing one story, they add elements from another story. Most of the cognitive models assume that the superficial similarity between two episodes is the primary factor for blending. However, there is evidence that people blend dissimilar stories as well, if these stories share the same relational structure. We contrasted the two factors in a single study and performed experiments with the same design and stimuli with adults and with 4-5-year-old children. The results show that there is no qualitative difference between the performance of adults and children. Also, both adults and children blend either pictures that have surface or structural similarity depending on the abstractness of the objects in them.

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