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ERIC Number: EJ1051409
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jun
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Your Earliest Memory May Be Earlier than You Think: Prospective Studies of Children's Dating of Earliest Childhood Memories
Wang, Qi; Peterson, Carole
Developmental Psychology, v50 n6 p1680-1686 Jun 2014
Theories of childhood amnesia and autobiographical memory development have been based on the assumption that the age estimates of earliest childhood memories are generally accurate, with an average age of 3.5 years among adults. It is also commonly believed that early memories will by default become inaccessible later on and this eventually results in childhood amnesia. These assumptions were examined in 2 prospective studies, in which children recalled and dated their earliest memories at an initial interview and did it again 1 year (Study 1) and 2 years later (Study 2). Systematic telescoping errors emerged: Children substantially postdated their memories for the same events at the follow-up interview, particularly for memories initially dated from earlier ages. These findings have critical methodological and theoretical implications for research on childhood amnesia and autobiographical memory development.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS-0721171