Very Long-Term Memories of the First Year in College


Abstract College alumnae who had graduated 2, 12, or 22 years earlier completed questionnaires in which they recounted the first four memories to come to mind of their freshman year and provided ratings of each remembered experience. For all three alumnae groups, the temporal distribution of memories peaked in September, the beginning of college. Mean ratings of emotional intensity were high, mean ratings of surprise and life impact were below the moderate level and substantial numbers of memories had never been recounted previously. The proportion of memories that focused on specific episodes rather than on general experiences decreased as the number of years since graduation increased. The incidence of specific memories also declined as a function of memory order: Memories reported first were more likely to be specific than memories reported later. The results suggest that transitional and emotional episodes are especially likely to persist in memory for many years. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition


American Psychological Association

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(c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)