Document Detail

Age differences and schema effects in memory for crime information.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23421640     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Background/Study Context: This study investigated age-related differences in memory for crime information. Older adults have been found to rely more than young adults on schema- and stereotype-based processing in memory, and such age differences may have implications in the criminal justice system. Some prior research has examined schema-based processing among older adults in legal settings, but no studies have tested for schema effects on older adults' memory for specific details of a crime. Methods: Older adults (N = 56, ages 65-93) and young adults (N = 52, ages 18-22) read a passage about a criminal suspect's "bad" or "good" childhood, and then read a crime report containing incriminating, exonerating, and neutral details with regard to the suspect. Participants were subsequently tested on recognition of accurate versus altered details from the crime report. Participants also rated the suspect"s guilt, and completed a battery of neuropsychological tests. Correct and false recognition rates were analyzed with ANOVA to compare means across age group, evidence type, and background type, and guilt ratings were analyzed with linear regression using neuropsychological scores as predictors. Results: Among older adults, an interaction was found between evidence type (incriminating/exonerating) and suspect's background (good/bad childhood) in false recognition of altered details from the crime report, supporting the hypothesis that schema-based processing influenced older adult memory from crime information. Additionally, although guilt ratings were not related to the suspect's background for either age group, they were predicted by older adults' short-delay recall (β = -.37), suggesting that cognitive decline may play a role in older adults' interpretations of evidence. Conclusion: The findings suggest reduced cognitive capacity in older adults increases schema-based processing in memory for crime information, and are consistent with research in other domains that has demonstrated greater schema effects in memory with aging. The results may have implications for criminal justice, and open up possibilities for further research on how young and older adults may differ in memory for specific types of crime information.
Amy A Overman; Kimberly D Wiseman; Meredith Allison; Joseph D W Stephens
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Experimental aging research     Volume:  39     ISSN:  1096-4657     ISO Abbreviation:  Exp Aging Res     Publication Date:  2013 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-02-20     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7603335     Medline TA:  Exp Aging Res     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  215-34     Citation Subset:  IM    
a Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program , Elon University , Elon , North Carolina , USA.
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