Emotion-oriented reminiscing and children's recall of a novel event

Penny van Bergen*, Karen Salmon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    An experimental paradigm examined the impact of elaborative, emotion- and non-emotion-focused reminiscing on 83 younger (3-4 years) and older (5-6 years) children's memory for a staged "visit to the zoo" event. Two days after participating in the narrated event, children were engaged in one of four types of reminiscing: emotion-cause (causes of the animals' emotions were described), emotion-expression (animals' emotion expressions were described), no-emotion (animals' physical characteristics were described), or minimal (control). All but the minimal condition reminisced elaboratively. Two weeks later, children who reminisced about emotions, particularly in the emotion-cause condition, recalled more emotional and non-emotional information overall than did children in the no-emotion or minimal conditions. During free recall older children recalled an equal amount in the emotion-cause and emotion-expression conditions, but younger children did not. The findings suggest that elaborative, emotional reminiscing benefits children's recall to a greater extent than does elaborative, non-emotional reminiscing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)991-1007
    Number of pages17
    JournalCognition and Emotion
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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