Can Maltreated Children Inhibit True and False Memories for Emotional Information?

Mark L. Howe, Sheree L. Toth, Dante Cicchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The authors examined 284 maltreated and nonmaltreated children's (6- to 12-year-olds) ability to inhibit true and false memories for neutral and emotional information using the Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. Children studied either emotional or neutral DRM lists in a control condition or were given directed-remembering or directed-forgetting instructions. The findings indicated that children, regardless of age and maltreatment status, could inhibit the output of true and false emotional information, although they did so less effectively than when they were inhibiting the output of neutral material. Verbal IQ was related to memory, but dissociative symptoms were not related to children's recollective ability. These findings add to the growing literature that shows more similarities among, than differences between, maltreated and nonmaltreated children's basic memory processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-981
Number of pages15
JournalChild development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


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