SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

High school (N= 150) and college (N= 164) students completed a survey of their earliest personal recollection (ER). These memories typically were of events occurring in the fourth year of life, and varied widely in terms of content and associated affect. The ERs of the high school sample were dated significantly later, contained more traumatic content, and were more likely to possess the qualities of a “screen memory” than were those of the college sample. Upon retest three months later, 58% of the high school students recalled the same ER as on the first trial. For those recalling a different ER, the second was rated as more pleasant than the first, and was less likely to contain traumatic content. In the college sample, those subjects whose ERs were of events occurring after the fourth birthday or which fit the definition of “screen” memories scored higher on the PRF Harmavoidance scale. Implications of these findings for future research are discussed.