Your earliest memory may be earlier than you think: Prospective studies of children’s dating of earliest childhood memories

Peterson, Carole and Wang, Qi (2014) Your earliest memory may be earlier than you think: Prospective studies of children’s dating of earliest childhood memories. Developmental Psychology, 50 (6). pp. 1680-1686. ISSN 1939-0599

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Abstract

Theories of childhood amnesia and autobiographical memory development have been based on the assumption that the age estimates of earliest childhood memories are generally accurate, with an average age of 3.5 years among adults. It is also commonly believed that early memories will by default become inaccessible later on and this eventually results in childhood amnesia. These assumptions were examined in 2 prospective studies, in which children recalled and dated their earliest memories at an initial interview and did it again 1 year (Study 1) and 2 years later (Study 2). Systematic telescoping errors emerged: Children substantially postdated their memories for the same events at the follow-up interview, particularly for memories initially dated from earlier ages. These findings have critical methodological and theoretical implications for research on childhood amnesia and autobiographical memory development.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9764
Item ID: 9764
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: June 2014
Date Type: Publication
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