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The distribution of autobiographical memories across the lifespan

Abstract

Words were used to cue autobiographical memories from 20- and 70-year-old subjects. Both groups showed a decrease in memories from the childhood years and a power-function retention function for their most recent 10 years. Older subjects also had an increase in the number of memories from the ages 10 to 30. These results held for individual subjects as well as grouped data and held when either 124 or 921 memories were cued. Reaction times to produce memories were constant across decades except for childhood where they were longer.

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Correspondence to David C. Rubin.

Additional information

Support for this study was provided by NIA Grant AG04278 and the Duke University Arts and Science Research Council.

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Rubin, D.C., Schulkind, M.D. The distribution of autobiographical memories across the lifespan. Memory & Cognition 25, 859–866 (1997). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03211330

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Keywords

  • Power Function
  • Young Subject
  • Autobiographical Memory
  • Retention Function
  • Power Func