A "snapshot" of declarative memory: Differing developmental trajectories in episodic and autobiographical memory.
Episodic and autobiographical memory are clearly related, yet in both the adult and developmental literatures it is difficult to compare them because of differences in how the constructs are assessed, including differences in content, levels of control, and time since experience. To address these issues, we directly compared children's and adults' autobiographical and episodic memory using the same controlled paradigm. Participants engaged in a photo-taking activity in a museum (autobiographical encoding) and viewed others' photographs of the same museum exhibits (episodic encoding). At test, participants classified photos as ones they took, viewed, or novel. In the autobiographical condition older children and adults performed similarly; younger children's performance was lower than adults'. In contrast, in the episodic condition both groups of children performed more poorly than adults. The findings suggest the developmental primacy of autobiographical relative to episodic memory, and that traditional episodic tasks may underestimate older children's declarative memory abilities.
Pathman, T; Samson, Z; Dugas, K; Cabeza, R; Bauer, PJ
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