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Consistency of adults’ earliest memories across two years

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The consistency of earliest memories in content, dating, and memory qualities was investigated. A total of 84 (27 males; M age = 24.93, SD = 1.36) adults reported earliest memories, estimated ages, and rated their recollections on memory qualities with a two-year time lag. At Time 2, their original reports at Time 1 were presented and they were asked to report whether the earliest memories they recalled at Time 2 were the same. Fifty-six per cent of the participants reported the same earliest memories and those remembering the same events had earlier memories than those remembering different ones. Although no significant differences were observed in estimated ages on the basis of mean ages, a predating bias of later memories and a tendency to postdate earlier memories were observed on the basis of a 48-month cut-off point. Thus, how the data is analysed is critical in detecting dating biases or errors affecting conclusions and interpretations about the dating consistency of earliest memories. Finally, memory qualities of earliest memories displayed a high level of consistency with a two-year time lag regardless of remembering the same versus different event.
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Keywords: Earliest memories; autobiographical memory; childhood amnesia; consistency of earliest memories; infantile amnesia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences, MEF University, Istanbul, Turkey 2: Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland 3: Department of Psychology, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication date: January 2, 2019

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