Temporal-order memory for autobiographical events in school-age children Open Access

Shafa, Anousheh (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/m900nt659?locale=en


Temporal-order memory for autobiographical events in school-age children
By Anousheh Shafa


Our memories guide our decisions, influence our social interactions, and determine our overall learning abilities. One defining characteristic of our personal memories is the temporal order of events. The crucial ability to recall the sequence of personal events in time, or temporal-order information from autobiographical events, enables us create cohesive narratives which shape both how we view ourselves and how we wish to be viewed by others.

This present study investigated if children between the ages of 7- and 11-years old have developed the important ability to retrieve the temporal order of autobiographical events comparable to adult-like capability. During the encoding task at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 21children took 120 pictures of specified objects in a determined order. One to 2 days later, the participants were asked to retrieve temporal-order information about pictures presented in a pair in order to determine which picture was taken first at the museum.

Through behavioral and electrophysiological testing, we determined the impact of the time lag between picture pairs and the physical order of the pictures in the pair on retrieval success, while also comparing the neural processing of these conditions during the retrieval task. As hypothesized, accuracy scores improved with longer durations between pictures in pair. The electrophysiological results demonstrated that there is no differential neural processing between correct and incorrect responses, but there is a robust main effect of lag with trials in which pictures that were further apart in time exhibited more neural activity. We also found a main effect of congruency with greater neural activity in trials in which the bottom picture was taken before the top picture. This finding, which may be due to familiarity, was confined to the right hemisphere frontocentral electrodes in trials where the pictures in the pair were taken close together in time at the museum.

This study contributes to the limited research on the development of temporal-order information retrieval for autobiographical events and the neural processing involved in this retrieval task. This field of research can contribute greatly toward better understanding neurological disorders that are characterized by abnormal retrieval of temporal-order information of personal events, the reliability of school-age children testimonials in abuse court cases, and the most effective teaching methods for this age range.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction...Page 8
Methods...Page 26
Results...Page 37
Discussion...Page 44
Table 1...Page 59
Table 2...Page 60
Table 3...Page 61
Figure 1...Page 62
Figure 2...Page 63
Figure 3...Page 70
Figure 4...Page 71
Figure 5...Page 72
Figure 6...Page 73
Figure 7...Page 74
Figure 8...Page 75
Figure 9...Page 76
Figure Captions...Page 77
References...Page 79

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files