“There were spooks in the park”

children's reminiscing with parents and siblings following a staged Halloween event

Penny Van Bergen*, Amanda J. Barnier, Elaine Reese, Doris McIlwain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examines children's reminiscing with different members of their family. Sociocultural research shows how mothers and fathers each scaffold children's memory narratives, yet it is not clear how children reminisce with siblings. We therefore captured multiple dyadic conversations from twelve young families including mother, father, and two children. In Session 1, families completed a Halloween-themed obstacle course. In Session 2, families reminisced in various combinations (mother-child, father-child, sibling-sibling). We coded conversations for their overarching approach, for the reminiscing style of each partner, and for remembering of core event details. Parent-child conversations were more likely than sibling-sibling conversations to use a child-focused approach. In contrast, sibling-sibling conversations were more likely than father-child conversations to use a collaborative approach. Parents also asked more open-ended “wh” questions than older siblings, but showed no difference in their provision of information. These findings have implications for our understanding of memory development within family contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-107
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • autobiographical memory
  • scaffolding
  • reminiscing
  • parent-child
  • family
  • sibling

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of '“There were spooks in the park”: children's reminiscing with parents and siblings following a staged Halloween event'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this