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The role of culture and self-construal in autobiographical memories of US and Turkish college students

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This study examined memory variables both cross-culturally and across four cultural self-construal types. US (N=240) and Turkish (N=174) college students described their earliest childhood memory, and another significant childhood memory, and completed the Balanced Integration-Differentiation (BID) Scale (Imamoglu, 1998; 2003), which measured relatedness and individuation, and allowed for the classification of students into four different self-construal types (Related-Individuated, Separated-Individuated, Related-Patterning, Separated-Patterning). At the cultural level US students' earliest memories were dated approximately 6 months earlier, had greater volume, and were more positive. US students also reported memories as more important. Turkish students' memories had more detail, a higher proportion of propositions, self-, other- and we-related words, and higher other–self ratios, and they were clearer than those of US students. Turkish students also reported greater ease in describing their earliest memory in words. At the level of self-construal the primary differences were between students high in both relatedness and individuation and those low in both. The culture by BID interaction was significant in only 1 of the more than 24 analyses.
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Keywords: Autobiographical memory; Cross-cultural differences; Earliest childhood memories; Individuation; Relatedness; Self-construal

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey 2: Department of Psychology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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