The tracks of my years: personal significance contributes to the reminiscence bump
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Two studies investigated the role of the self in the reminiscence bump (heightened retrieval for events from young adulthood). Participants over the age of 40 were presented with top-grossing films and songs, and were asked to select the five that were most personally significant. Study 1 produced reminiscence bumps for personally significant songs, when measured by both participants’ age at release (AaR) and age when songs were reported as most important (AaI). This effect was not shown for films. In Study 2, participants again selected their personally significant songs but also rated all songs for whether they were known, remembered (e.g., associated with an episodic memory), or not known. Personally significant songs were significantly more likely to be associated with episodic memories, compared to personally non-significant songs. Again, only personally significant songs formed a reminiscence bump. Findings underline a critical role of personal significance in the reminiscence bump, which we argue is consistent with the formation of identity in this lifetime period.
Rathbone , C , O'Connor , A R & Moulin , C 2017 , ' The tracks of my years: personal significance contributes to the reminiscence bump ' Memory and Cognition , vol 45 , no. 1 , pp. 137-150 . DOI: 10.3758/s13421-016-0647-2
Memory and Cognition
Copyright Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2016. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://dx.doi.org/ 10.3758/s13421-016-0647-2
This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/K000918/1) and data collection was carried out at the University of Leeds, UK.
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