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Memory. 2007 Oct;15(7):755-67.

Temporal distribution of favourite books, movies, and records: differential encoding and re-sampling.

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  • 1University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology, Roetersstraat 15 - Room A.605, 1018 WB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The reminiscence bump is the effect that people recall more personal events from early adulthood than from childhood or adulthood. The bump has been examined extensively. However, the question of whether the bump is caused by differential encoding or re-sampling is still unanswered. To examine this issue, participants were asked to name their three favourite books, movies, and records. Furthermore,they were asked when they first encountered them. We compared the temporal distributions and found that they all showed recency effects and reminiscence bumps. The distribution of favourite books had the largest recency effect and the distribution of favourite records had the largest reminiscence bump. We can explain these results by the difference in rehearsal. Books are read two or three times, movies are watched more frequently, whereas records are listened to numerous times. The results suggest that differential encoding initially causes the reminiscence bump and that re-sampling increases the bump further.

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