Children and adults are differentially affected by presentation modality in the DRM paradigm

Maya M. Khanna, Michael J. Cortese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Using the Deese - Roediger - McDermott (DRM) method for free recall, we examined mode of list presentation and association type in 8-9 year old children and adults. Participants verbally recalled lists of associates that were presented orally (Experiment 1) or visually (Experiment 2). Lists consisted of semantic associates (e.g. hound, puppy, etc.), phonological associates (e.g. log, dot, etc.) and both semantic and phonological associates (e.g. hound, dot, etc.) to a nonpresented lure word (e.g. dog). Interestingly, the ratio of false to true recall was higher in children than adults only when lists were presented orally. These results suggest that children rely more on sublexical information or item-specific information than adults when reading lists, and, thus, are less likely to activate the critical lure via lexical associations. Furthermore, these results suggest that information processing differences at encoding between children and adults need to be taken into account when interpreting free recall studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-877
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 29 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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