Children’s Memories of Emotional Events

Robyn Fivush and Jessica McDermott Sales

in Memory and Emotion

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195158564
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848126 | DOI:

Series: Series in Affective Science

Children’s                         Memories of Emotional Events

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This chapter deals with emotional memory in children and focuses on the fact that the functional role of emotional remembering often depends on attributes of memories other than their historical accuracy. In particular, it explores the ways in which the structure and content of young children's emotional memories is co-constructed by the children and their parents, a process that varies from culture to culture and also depends on the child's gender. This co-construction is important for many reasons; among them, it is one of the essential means through which children gain a foundation for understanding themselves and their autobiographies. Also crucial here are the ways in which parent-child reminiscing about stressful experiences can guide the child's understanding of and coping with aversive events. By participating in parent-guided reminiscing, this chapter argues that children develop an emotional self-concept that simultaneously influences the way in which the past is remembered and forms the basis for understanding self in the present.

Keywords: emotional memory; children; parents; reminiscing; self-concept; autobiographies; stressful experiences; aversive events

Chapter.  13240 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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