If memory serves, will language? Later verbal accessibility of early memories

Patricia J. Bauer, Maria G. Kroupina, Jennifer A. Schwade, Patricia L. Dropik, Sandi Saeger Wewerka

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68 Scopus citations


Of major interest to those concerned with early mnemonic process and function is the question of whether early memories likely encoded without the benefit of language later are accessible to verbal report. In the context of a controlled laboratory study, we examined this question in children who were 16 and 20 months at the time of exposure to specific target events and who subsequently were tested for their memories of the events after a delay of either 6 or 12 months (at 22-32 months) and then again at 3 years. At the first delayed-recall test, children evidenced memory both nonverbally and verbally. Nonverbal mnemonic expression was related to age at the time of test; verbal mnemonic expression was related to verbal fluency at the time of test. At the second delayed-recall test, children evidenced continued accessibility of their early memories. Verbal mnemonic expression was related to previous mnemonic expression, both nonverbal and verbal, each of which contributed unique variance. The relevance of these findings on memory for controlled laboratory events for issues of memory for traumatic experiences is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-679
Number of pages25
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

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