Reminiscence bump in memory for public events

S.M.J. Janssen, J.M.J. Murre, M. Meeter

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People tend to recall more personal events from adolescence and early adulthood than from other lifetime periods. Most evidence suggests that differential encoding causes this reminiscence bump. However, the question why personal events are encoded better in those periods is still unanswered. To shed more light on this discussion, we examined memory for public events. Since it is often impossible to ascertain that queried events are equally difficult, we circumvented the issue of equivalence by calculating deviation scores for each trial. We found that participants more frequently answered questions correctly about events that occurred in the period in which they were between 10 and 25 years old. Furthermore, we found that the reminiscence bump was more pronounced for cued recall than for recognition. We argue that these results support the biological account that events are stored better, because the memory system is working more efficiently during adolescence and early adulthood. These results do not falsify the other accounts for differential encoding, because they are not mutually exclusive. © 2007 Psychology Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-764
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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