Autobiographical Across the Lifespan 6
that would be included in the book of their life. They then have to look at each story and determine what age they were at the time that each experience took place.
Pilino et al. (2002) also attempted to introduce a questionnaire method into studying autobiographical memory. In this study, participants were given a questionnaire in which they were asked to recall specific and general information. The survey asked about the current year and dependent on the age of the participant, five to eight previous time periods (e.g., the 1990s, 1980s, etc.). All questions required participants to recall experiences, people, dates, and/or locations during a specific time period in their own life.
Recency and Bump Effects
By utilizing the three methods previously described, researchers have identified two primary effects of aging on memory. These effects appear to be correlated and affect most people in similar ways. The first of these two effects is the bump effect, which is the disproportionably higher likelihood that individuals will recall memories from between the ages of 10 and 30 (Schroots et al., 2004). This is strongly correlated to the common recency effect, of which individuals remember memories from ages within that range that they are closest to when being tested.
Researchers have developed three frameworks that explain why these effects would be present over the lifespan (Rubin, Rahhal, & Poon, as cited in Schroots et al., 2004). The first explanation is a cognitively based account of memory over the lifespan. Schroots et al. (2004) write that memories from childhood around age 10 are remembered because they are occurring at a period of rapid change and transition. Essentially, during childhood an experience will occur for the first time. This experience may mark the beginning or end of a certain chapter in a person’s life which gives it more