The Me in Memory: The Role of the Self in Autobiographical Memory Development

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Abstract

This article tests the hypothesis that self-development plays a role in the offset of childhood amnesia; assessing the importance of both the capacity to anchor a memory to the self-concept, and the strength of the self-concept as an anchor. This research demonstrates for the first time that the volume of 3- to 6-year old's specific autobiographical memories is predicted by both the volume of their self-knowledge, and their capacity for self-source monitoring within self-referencing paradigms (N = 186). Moreover, there is a bidirectional relation between self and memory, such that autobiographical memory mediates the link between self-source monitoring and self-knowledge. These predictive relations suggest that the self-memory system is active in early childhood.

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Ross, J., Hutchison, J., & Cunningham, S. J. (2020). The Me in Memory: The Role of the Self in Autobiographical Memory Development. Child Development, 91(2), e299–e314. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13211

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