The reminiscence bump in the temporal distribution of the best football players of all time: Pelé, Cruijff or Maradona?

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The reminiscence bump is the tendency to recall more autobiographical memories from adolescence and early adulthood than from adjacent lifetime periods. In this online study, the robustness of the reminiscence bump was examined by looking at participants' judgements about the quality of football players. Dutch participants (N = 619) were asked who they thought the five best players of all time were. The participants could select the names from a list or enter the names when their favourite players were not on the list. Johan Cruijff, Pelé, and Diego Maradona were the three most often mentioned players. Participants frequently named football players who reached the midpoint of their career when the participants were adolescents (mode = 17). The results indicate that the reminiscence bump can also be identified outside the autobiographical memory domain.





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Janssen, Steve MJ, David C Rubin and Martin A Conway (2012). The reminiscence bump in the temporal distribution of the best football players of all time: Pelé, Cruijff or Maradona?. Q J Exp Psychol (Hove), 65(1). pp. 165–178. 10.1080/17470218.2011.606372 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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