Applied Cognitive Psychology

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The influence of mindfulness on young adolescents' eyewitness memory and suggestibility

Abstract

Recent research has linked mindfulness to adults' false memory formation. This study investigated the effects of mindfulness on adolescents' event memory and suggestibility by using an “extensive” 8‐week mindfulness program, an active control group, and a participatory to‐be‐remembered event. Students aged 13 to 14 were randomly assigned to a mindfulness or active control condition (socioemotional learning). After the seventh week, students participated in a target event and were immediately interviewed during which misleading information was presented. A week later, those in the mindfulness condition incorrectly reported more false information compared with those in the control group. Mindful practice did not affect memory encoding but had a negative effect during retention and retrieval. These findings suggest that adolescents who are exposed to mindfulness exercises may be susceptible to memory intrusions. Professionals should therefore be especially careful to avoid using suggestive and leading questions during investigative interviews with mindful adolescents.

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