Things learned in early adulthood are remembered best.

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1998-01

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Abstract

Evidence is reviewed that for older adults the period from 10 to 30 years of age produces recall of the most autobiographical memories, the most vivid memories, and the most important memories. It is the period from which peoples' favorite films, music, and books come and the period from which they judge the most important world events to have originated. Factual, semantic, general-knowledge, multiple-choice questions about the Academy Awards, the World Series, and current events from this period were answered more accurately by two different groups of 30 older adults tested 10 years apart. A cognitive theory based on the importance of transitions and several noncognitive theories are considered as explanations of this pervasive phenomenon.

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Rubin

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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