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Abstract

The ability to track who one tells information to (target monitoring) is evaluated in the present study. Participants shared personal information with target persons across four sessions spaced one day apart, and were instructed not to duplicate information to the same person over successive conversations. Target monitoring success was evaluated both on-line, during the information sharing sessions, and retrospectively, following the final session. On-line monitoring, or avoiding telling someone what you told them before, was very good with only one prior shared fact (Sessions 2 and 3), but declined with two prior shared facts (Session 4). Retrospective monitoring, or remembering prior fact-to-person assignments, was most accurate for Session 1, but dropped off sharply for Session 2 and remained constant through Session 4. Temporal errors in retrospective fact-to-person assignment tend to shift forward in days (telescoping). Further research is needed on the complex interrelationship of source and target information exchanges. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.