The effect of divided attention on inadvertent plagiarism for young and older adults
Kelly, Andrew J.
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Older adults inadvertently plagiarize more than young adults (McCabe, Smith, & Parks, 2007). One current explanation proposes that this effect can be understood in terms of age-related declines in working and episodic memory (McCabe et al., 2007). The current study tested this hypothesis by placing groups of young and older adult participants under divided attention while performing within the typical experimental paradigm. Results indicated that for some measures, dividing the attention of young adults equated their performance to older adults with full attention. For other measures, older adults still produced more errors. Except for false recall, regression analyses revealed that episodic and working memory accounted for age-related variance in these plagiarism errors. The current findings provide tenuous support for the McCabe et al. (2007) hypothesis and suggest other factors may be at play.