Age Effects in Cultural Life Scripts.

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Life scripts are culturally shared expectations about the timing of life events in an idealized life course. Because they are cultural semantic knowledge, they should be known by all adult age groups including those who have not lived through all events in the life script, but this has not been tested previously. Young, middle-aged and older adults from the Netherlands were therefore asked in this online study to imagine an ordinary Dutch infant and to name the seven most important events that were likely to take place in the life of this prototypical child. Participants subsequently answered questions about at what ages these events were expected to occur and about their prevalence, importance and valence. We found that the cultural life script was similar for young, middle-aged and older adults and for adults with different educational attainment.






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Janssen, Steve MJ, and David C Rubin (2011). Age Effects in Cultural Life Scripts. Appl Cogn Psychol, 25(2). pp. 291–298. 10.1002/acp.1690 Retrieved from

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David C. Rubin

Juanita M. Kreps Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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My main research interest has been in long-term memory, especially for complex (or "real-world") stimuli. This work includes the study of autobiographical memory and oral traditions, as well as prose. I have also studied memory as it is more commonly done in experimental psychology laboratories using lists. In addition to this purely behavioral research, which I plan to continue, I work on memory in clinical populations with the aid of a National Institute of Mental Health grant to study PTSD and on the underlying neural basis of memory the aid of a National Institute of Aging grant to study autobiographical memory using fMRI.

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