ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (10): 1713-1725.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.01713

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 Origins of autobiographical memory: How to elicit, measure and code the earliest memory

 LIU Xiaoshi1; CAO Zhongping2; LI Dan1   

  1.  (1 Department of Psychology, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China) (2 School of Educational Science, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410006, China)
  • Received:2016-11-30 Online:2017-10-15 Published:2017-08-13
  • Contact: LI Dan, E-mail: E-mail:E-mail:
  • Supported by:

Abstract:  Childhood amnesia refers to the inability of adults to recall events that happened in their early life. Most researchers have argued that the offset of childhood amnesia and the onset of autobiographical memory occur between the ages of 3 and 4 years, but the earliest memories of children occurred at a younger age than did adults. Four approaches have been used to elicit adults’ accounts of their early memories, including the single earliest memory method, the cue-word method, the exhaustive method, and the lifespan method. Evaluations of the earliest memories are discussed, including using surveys to measure the phenomenon of earliest memory and encoding the earliest memory accounts of individuals. Future studies should 1) utilize longitudinal designs to track developmental changes in autobiographical memories, 2) expand the research to abnormal populations, 3) improve measurements and 4) explore the mechanisms in the maintenance and loss of autobiographical memory.

Key words: autobiographical memory, childhood amnesia, earliest memory, research method

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