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Autobiographical memory in middle childhood: Recollections of the recent and distant past

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To address the question of whether memories from early childhood survive into later childhood, participants visited the laboratory at age 3 and again at 7, 8, or 9. At age 3, each talked with a parent about six events; at the later age each child talked with a researcher about four of these distant events as well as two more recent events. School‐aged children recalled fewer than half of the distant events introduced. Further, the proportion of distant events recalled was negatively correlated with age. Those distant events that were recalled, however, were recounted in an accurate, detailed manner. Importantly, reports of distant events did not reflect the full extent of children's narrative ability. Reports of recent events were more coherent and included twice the detail. Implications for existing interpretations of autobiographical memory and childhood amnesia are discussed, and the need for further research employing innovative methods is emphasised.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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