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Calendar and reverse calendar effects: Time peaks in memory as a function of temporal cues

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Prior research on autobiographical memory revealed that students typically report more memories from semester boundaries than from other times. Explanations for these calendar effects were examined in two experiments. In Experiment 1, temporal cues were eliminated from the memory cueing task, and an opposite outcome obtained: a greater amount of memories per week in the middle of semesters than at the boundaries (a reverse calendar effect). Experiment 2 replicated and extended this finding by including conditions with temporal cues at different points in the instructions: pre-retrieval or post-retrieval. In the no-cue condition, the reverse calendar effect was replicated. The calendar effect was evident in both cue conditions, but to a greater degree in the pre-retrieval group. These findings contradict encoding explanations of the calendar effect and are best explained by a combination of anchoring bias and temporal landmarks.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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