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The wane of childhood amnesia for autobiographical and public event memories

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We modified Bruce, Dolan, and Phillips-Grant's (2000) threshold procedure for determining the wane of childhood amnesia. In two experiments, undergraduates labelled childhood events (e.g., your first permanent tooth came in) as know or recollect memories and estimated their age at the event's occurrence. In both studies the estimated transition from mostly know memories to mostly recollect memories was roughly 4.7 years. This transition estimate was replicated in a sample of adults (ages 24–65 years) with both Bruce et al.'s event-generation task and the Experiment 1a questionnaire. By contrast, in two experiments a transition estimate of roughly 6 years was found for undergraduates' memories of public events (e.g., the Challenger explosion). The wane of childhood amnesia appears to occur around 4.7 years.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Davidson College, NC, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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