Culture and language in the emergence of autobiographical memory

Psychol Sci. 2004 Sep;15(9):573-7. doi: 10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00722.x.


Current conceptualizations of childhood amnesia assume that there is a "barrier" to remembering early experiences that must be overcome in order for one to begin to accumulate autobiographical memories. In contrast, we present a social-cultural-developmental perspective on the emergence of autobiographical memory. We first demonstrate the gradual emergence of autobiographical memories across the preschool years and then relate this developmental process to specific developments in language, narrative, and understanding of self and other that vary among individuals, as well as by culture and gender.

MeSH terms

  • Autobiographies as Topic*
  • Culture*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Memory*