Development of Gist Versus Verbatim Memory in Sentence Recognition: Effects of Lexical Familiarity, Semantic Content, Encoding Instructions, and Retention Interval

Valerie F. Reyna, Barbara Kiernan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

191 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fuzzy-trace theory is used to explore children's memory and comprehension of sentences describing spatial or linear relationships. Recognition tests were given immediately and after a week's delay, and test sentences' truth, wording (original or novel), and premise-inference status were varied. When children were instructed to recognize only verbatim sentences (Experiment 1), premise recognition (memory) was independent of systematic misrecognition of true inferences (reasoning), and experimental manipulations (delay; spatial vs. linear stimuli) drove memory and reasoning in opposite directions. Therefore, verbatim memories were not semantically integrated with gist, such as inferences. When children were specifically instructed to process gist (Experiment 2), however, memory and reasoning were positively dependent. Results are discussed from the perspectives of constructivism, theories of suggestibility, and fuzzy-trace theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-191
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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