Young Children′s Event Recall: Are Memories Constructed through Discourse?

Consciousness and Cognition 3 (3-4):356-373 (1994)
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The ways in which event memories may be reconstructed or transformed through discussion with others is a critical question both for understanding basic memory processes and for issues concerning legal testimony. In this research, white middle-class preschool children were interviewed first by their mothers and then by a female experimenter about personally experienced events when they were 40, 46, 58, and 70 months of age. Analyses indicated that at all four time points children only incorporated about 9% of the information initially recounted by the mother into their independent recall of the event with the experimenter. Moreover, children only repeated about 20% of the information they themselves recalled across the two interviews. Additional analyses indicated that information mutually discussed by the mother and child was no more likely to be incorporated or repeated when recalling the event with the experimenter than information not mutually discussed. These results indicate that young children′s personal memories are not so fragile that they easily incorporate information provided by another into their own recall



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