British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 33 Issue 3 (September 2015), Pages 259-403

Opening the cuebox: The information children and young adults generate and rely on when making inferences from memory (pages 355-374)

We used a cue‐generation and a cue‐selection paradigm to investigate the cues children (9‐ to 12‐year‐olds) and young adults (17‐year‐olds) generate and select for a range of inferences from memory. We found that children generated more cues than young adults, who, when asked why they did not generate some particular cues, responded that they did not consider them relevant for the task at hand. On average, the cues generated by children were more perceptual but as informative as the cues generated by young adults. When asked to select the most informative of two cues, both children and young adults tended to choose a hidden (i.e., not perceptual) cue. Our results suggest a developmental change in the cuebox (i.e., the set of cues used to make inferences from memory): New cues are added to the cuebox as more cues are learned, and some old, perceptual cues, although informative, are replaced with hidden cues, which, by both children and young adults, are generally assumed to be more informative than perceptual cues.

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