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Maternal reminiscing style during early childhood predicts the age of adolescents' earliest memories

By Fiona Jack, Shelley MacDonald, Elaine Reese and Harlene Hayne


Individual differences in parental reminiscing style are hypothesized to have long-lasting effects on children’s autobiographical memory development, including the age of their earliest memories. This study represents the first prospective test of this hypothesis. Conversations about past events between 17 mother–child dyads were recorded on multiple occasions between the children’s 2nd and 4th birthdays. When these children were aged 12–13 years, they were interviewed about their early memories. Adolescents whose mothers used a greater ratio of elaborations to repetitions during the early childhood conversations had earlier memories than adolescents whose mothers used a smaller ratio of elaborations to repetitions. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that past-event conversations during early childhood have long-lasting effects on autobiographical memory

Topics: 170299 Cognitive Science not elsewhere classified, Childhood Amnesia, Maternal Reminiscing Style, Early Childhood, Adolescence
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01274.x
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