Adult Memory for Single and Repeated Events 

Deck, S. L. (University of Sydney), Paterson, H. M. (University of Sydney) 

In some relationships, instances of abuse become a regular occurrence. This dynamic is true in cases of domestic violence and workplace bullying for example. To ensure that genuine allegations of abuse are not misperceived as false (e.g. by the legal system, workplaces), it is essential that the nature of memory for recurring events is well understood.  Problematically, limited research has explored adult’s memory for such events. This question was addressed by the current experiment. In this experiment, adults experienced one event or multiple similar events. All participants were then interviewed about the same event. Participants who had experienced a single event were more likely to report correct details than those who had experienced a repeated event. Moreover, repeated event participants tended to confuse when they had experienced particular details. These results have important social implications as awareness of the scientific structure of memory for recurring events can help to prevent genuine allegations from being misperceived as false, thus improving the justice of workplace and legal proceedings. 

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Memory Research Symposium