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ABSTRACT In the present paper, I critique the use of the retrospective method when it is used as a proxy for actual longitudinal data on personality development Studies on the constructive nature of memory cast strong doubts about the meaning of retrospective data There are good reasons, both theoretical and empirical, to distrust the accuracy of such recall concerning parenting, whether recalled by parents, children, or siblings Instead of using the method as a shortcut to developmental data, studies examining individual differences in accuracy and distortion and the factors that moderate them may inform us of the various meanings of retrospective data