Memory & Cognition

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 3–19 | Cite as

Things learned in early adulthood are remembered best

  • David C. RubinEmail author
  • Tamara A. Rahhal
  • Leonard W. Poon


Evidence is reviewed that for older adults the period from 10 to 30 years of age produces recall of the most autobiographical memories, the most vivid memories, and the most important memories. It is the period from which peoples’ favorite films, music, and books come and the period from which they judge the most important world events to have originated. Factual, semantic, general-knowledge, multiple-choice questions about the Academy Awards, the World Series, and current events from this period were answered more accurately by two different groups of 30 older adults tested 10 years apart. A cognitive theory based on the importance of transitions and several noncognitive theories are considered as explanations of this pervasive phenomenon.


Early Adulthood Autobiographical Memory Proactive Interference News Story Remote Memory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David C. Rubin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tamara A. Rahhal
    • 1
  • Leonard W. Poon
    • 2
  1. 1.Experimental PsychologyDuke UniversityDurham
  2. 2.University of GeorgiaAthens

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