The study presented here investigates Mandler's (1983) claim that memory for scenes is qualitatively similar in children and adults. We assessed 5- to 7-year-olds' and adults' memory for inventory information in scenes as assessed by type changes, in which one object is replaced by a conceptually different object. We tested for effects of three schema-related processes on scene memory. Results showed that both children and adults used two of those processes, which we have called the added unexpected object effect and the congruency effect. In the added unexpected object effect viewers tended to correctly reject any distractor scenes in which a new unexpected object was added. In the congruency effect viewers tended to correctly reject distractor scenes that contained a new unexpected object if each of the original scenes that they had viewed had contained all expected objects, and vice versa. There was no evidence at either age for what we have called the deleted unexpected object effect, in which viewers would notice that an unexpected object in the original scene was now missing in the distractor scene. The only developmental difference was that adults appeared to give relatively greater weight to the added unexpected object effect than to the congruency effect, whereas children weighted them equally. We conclude by speculating on the role of metacognitive awareness in the developmental trend toward greater influence from the added unexpected object effect in memory for scenes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology