The socialization of children's memory: A longitudinal examination of maternal elaborative conversational style, children's autobiographical memory, and children's deliberate memory performance Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Langley, Hillary Anne
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Previous research confirms the existence of marked age differences in aspects of memory performance that include the ability to recount details of past experiences and the use of effective strategies when deliberately working to remember and then later recall information. Variations in the development of autobiographical memory skills in children have been linked to differences in the ways in which mothers reminisce with their young children about jointly experienced events, such that children of high elaborative mothers contribute more memory information in conversations about the past with their mothers and with other conversational partners than do their peers with low elaborative mothers (Fivush, Haden, & Reese, 2006). Associations among the development of different memory skills are suspected, but it is not yet fully understood how children's abilities to talk about their past are linked to their use of deliberate strategies to remember information (Haden, Ornstein, Eckerman, & Didow, 2001). It has been argued that it seems likely that the fundamental skills needed to talk about past experiences set the stage for later accomplishments within the domain of deliberate memory, as similar underlying processes are involved in both types of memory; indeed, talking about the past may help to prepare for future assessments of memory because such conversations provide opportunities to practice searching memory and reporting what is retrieved (Fivush et al., 2006; Haden et al., 2001). This study utilizes data from a large-scale, longitudinal research study with an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample to explore the impact of maternal conversational style on children's autobiographical and deliberate memory development when children are 3 to 6 years old. Results reveal concurrent and longitudinal linkages between maternal conversational style in a mother-child reminiscing task and children's autobiographical memory in reminiscing. No associations between maternal style and children's independent narratives were found; however, significant correlations between children's performance in reminiscing and their autobiographical memories in the independent narrative task were present. Maternal conversational style in reminiscing was significantly related to children's strategic behaviors and recall in two deliberate memory tasks, concurrently and longitudinally. Results from this examination replicate and extend what we know about the linkages between maternal conversational style, children's abilities to talk about previous experiences, and children's deliberate memory skills as they transition from the preschool to early elementary school years.
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  • In Copyright
  • Ornstein, Peter
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2013

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