Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

Distinct environmental cues trigger spontaneous recall of past events in 3- and 4-year-old children even after long delays

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DOI

Verbally reported long-term memory for past events typically improves with age. However, such findings are based exclusively on studies, where children are directly asked to recall. The present study showed that when 3- (n = 113, 59 girls) and 4-year-olds (n = 113, 62 girls), predominantly White, were brought back to a distinct laboratory-setting after either 1-, 4.5-, or 13-weeks, children—regardless of age and delay—spontaneously recalled the distinct event experienced at their first visit (all Cohen's ds > 1.00). Meanwhile, the oldest children outperformed the youngest when being asked directly to retrieve the event (η2p>.088). These findings suggest that spontaneous retrieval facilitated by distinct environmental cues provides a short-cut to young children's event memories.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Development
Volume93
Issue4
Pages (from-to)941-955
Number of pages15
ISSN0009-3920
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

    Research areas

  • ACCOUNT, CHILDHOOD, EPISODIC MEMORY, INVOLUNTARY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIES, PROPS, REMEMBER, TALK, VERBAL ACCESSIBILITY, VOLUNTARY, Cues, Mental Recall, Humans, Child, Preschool, Female

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