NCBI ROFL: The tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth: how belief in the Tooth Fairy can engender false memories.

By ncbi rofl | June 21, 2011 7:00 pm

“To examine how children’s fantasy beliefs can affect memory for their experiences, 5- and 6-year-olds with differing levels of belief in the reality of the Tooth Fairy were prompted to recall their most recent primary tooth loss in either a truthful or fun manner. Many of the children who fully believed in the existence of the Tooth Fairy reported supernatural experiences consistent with the myth under both sets of recall instructions, whereas those who realized the fictionality of the myth recalled mainly realistic experiences. However, those children with equivocal beliefs evidenced a different pattern under each set of instructions, recalling mainly realistic experiences when asked to be truthful and reporting many fantastical experiences when prompted to relate the tooth loss in a fun manner. These findings suggest that children’s beliefs in the reality of fantastic phenomena can give rise to genuine constructive memory errors in line with their fantasies.”

Photo: flickr/edenpictures

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: NCBI ROFL, rated G, ridiculous titles
  • http://theviewfromhell.blogspot.com Sister Y

    Obvious next question: does religiosity do the same?

  • M Burke

    Or skepticism?

  • Candice

    This is very interesting, I don’t see why religious teaching wouldn’t have similar effects, after all, it is adults telling children myths as though they are true.

  • Kandace

    “These findings suggest that children’s beliefs in the reality of fantastic phenomena can give rise to genuine constructive memory errors in line with their fantasies.”

    I’m pretty sure that most of the stuff in the Bible could be described as “fantastic phenomena”.

    I’m with Candice on this one.

  • Guest

    Nice post!

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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