, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 324-332

Memory for unique personal events: The roommate study

Abstract

Memory for naturally occurring episodic events was measured along with memory for the date of occurrence of those events. The effect of rehearsal was also measured. Participants in the experiment recorded unique personal events for themselves and their roommates for a semester (data were collected for approximately 14 weeks). They also rated the memorability of the events at the time the events were recorded. The roommates were unaware that they were to be tested on the events until approximately I week before the memory test. Accuracy in dating events decreased at the rate of roughly 1 day every week of the retention interval. Events rated as memorable were encoded better than events rated as unmemorable but were forgotten at the same rate. Increasing rehearsal decreased the rate of forgetting the events. Although the recorders selected the events to be recorded and knew they were to be tested on those events, they did not differ from their roommates on any of the memory measures