A Self-Serving Bias in Children’s Memories?

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Although children’s initial perceptions and judgments about sociomoral situations are being actively explored, little is known about what children remember about them. In four experiments testing over 400 children, we investigated children’s memories for small acts of giving and taking. When asked to recall their own giving and taking, children were relatively accurate following a number of delays. In contrast, when asked to recall a child’s giving or taking, children exaggerated the child’s taking after a 1-day or 1-week delay. Notably, this pattern of misremembering occurred only when children recalled the actions of a child but not an adult. We consider the idea that children spontaneously engage in social comparison, which colors their memories of the social world.

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