Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Most of us have made best memories by age 25

Date:
February 19, 2014
Source:
University of New Hampshire
Summary:
By the time most people are 25, they have made the most important memories of their lives, according to new research.

Young friends. By the time most people are 25, they have made the most important memories of their lives.
Credit: Syda Productions / Fotolia

By the time most people are 25, they have made the most important memories of their lives, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire.

Researchers at UNH have found that when older adults were asked to tell their life stories, they overwhelmingly highlighted the central influence of life transitions in their memories. Many of these transitions, such as marriage and having children, occurred early in life.

"When people look back over their lives and recount their most important memories, most divide their life stories into chapters defined by important moments that are universal for many: a physical move, attending college, a first job, marriage, military experience, and having children," said Kristina Steiner, a doctoral student in psychology at UNH and the study's lead researcher.

The research team also included David Pillemer, Dr. Samuel E. Paul Professor of Developmental Psychology at UNH; Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen, professor of psychology and behavioral sciences at the University of Aarhus (Denmark); and Andrew Minigan, an undergraduate student in psychology at UNH. The researchers present the results of their study, "The reminiscence bump in older adults' life story transitions," in the journal Memory.

In the first study to use a naturalistic approach by collecting free-flowing life stories, researchers spoke with 34 members of an active retirement community, ages 59 to 92. All the participants were white, and 76 percent had earned at least an undergraduate degree. Participants were asked to tell their life stories in 30 minutes. One week later, participants divided their life stories into self-defined "chapters."

In the UNH study, researchers found a pronounced "reminiscence bump" between ages 17 and 24, when many people defined chapters of their life story beginning and ending. A reminiscence bump is a period of time between the ages of 15 and 30 when many memories, positive and negative, expected and unexpected, are recalled.

"Many studies have consistently found that when adults are asked to think about their lives and report memories, remembered events occurring between the ages of 15 to 30 are over-represented. I wanted to know why this might be. Why don't adults report more memories from the ages of 30 to 70? What is it about the ages of 15 to 30 that make them so much more memorable?" Steiner asked.

"Our life narratives are our identity. By looking at life narratives, researchers can predict levels of well-being and psychological adjustment in adults. Clinical therapists can use life narrative therapy to help people work through issues and problems in their lives by helping them see patterns and themes," said Steiner, who studies autobiographical memory.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New Hampshire. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kristina L. Steiner, David B. Pillemer, Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen, Andrew P. Minigan. The reminiscence bump in older adults' life story transitions. Memory, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2013.863358

Cite This Page:

University of New Hampshire. "Most of us have made best memories by age 25." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219095325.htm>.
University of New Hampshire. (2014, February 19). Most of us have made best memories by age 25. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219095325.htm
University of New Hampshire. "Most of us have made best memories by age 25." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219095325.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins