Autobiographical Across the Lifespan 7
meaning. Additionally, because the experience is a novel one there is little proactive interference of past events similar to it to interfere with the memory. This distinctiveness of the experience also helps to make it more memorable. The argument is that certain childhood memories are part of the “bump” because of their uniqueness and newness at the time of experience.
Another theory for the bump effect is based on genetic fitness. This approach falls under evolutionary theories of psychology and focuses on what times memory would “bump” in response of the natural need to survive. Under this theoretical model, early adulthood is the time of the highest potential to reproduce so cognitive abilities are naturally at a peak during this time in life enabling us to have better memory (Schroots et al., 2004).
The final explanation that Schroots et al. (2004) explain is the identity formation theory. Because of sense a identity is often formed in late adolescence and early adulthood, individuals are likely to draw on experiences from these periods in their life when trying to recall significant events for a life story.
In addition to the bump effect, researchers have noticed that recency plays a major role in memory. Piolino et al. (2002) found that people are able to recall autobiographical memories that have occurred in the previous seven years at an extremely high rate. However, the events from the last seven years are usually semantic in nature. These researchers noted that episodic memory is far more sensitive to the effects of age than semantic memory of facts and events in the remote past. However, these researchers were able to show that a few episodic memories persist in the elderly. These experiences allow the elderly to relive personal experiences and strengthen their