Memory for One-Time Experiences in the Second Year of Life: Implications for the Status of Episodic Memory


Correspondence should be sent to Patricia J. Bauer, Department of Psychology, 36 Eagle Row, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA;


Memory based on a one-time experience is an important element of its definition as “episodic.” Infants' memories for one-time experiences over long delays are largely unexplored. Using elicited imitation, we tested 20- and 16-month-olds' (Experiment 1) and 13-month-olds' (Experiment 2) memories as a function of number of experiences and delay. Over 1 month, 20- and 16-month-olds remembered individual actions of one-time events; 20-month-olds also remembered temporal order; with verbal reminders, 16-month-olds did as well. Over 3 months, recall depended on multiple experiences. Thirteen-month-olds' required multiple experiences, even over 1 month. The findings speak to the gradual emergence of an important element of episodic memory, namely the ability to preserve memories of one-time experiences over long periods of time.