chapter  4
The Influence of Prior Knowledge on Children's Memory for Salient Medical Experiences
Pages 30

Recent studies of young children's long-term retention have examined age differences in the recall of salient, personally experienced events. For example, children have been asked to remember positive events such as family vacations (Hamond & Fivush, 1991) and school outings (Fivush, Hudson, & Nelson, 1984; Hudson & Fivush, 1991), more neutral events such as well-child visits to the doctor (Baker-Ward, Gordon, Ornstein, Larus, & Clubb, 1993), and decidedly negative experiences, including medical procedures involving inoculations and venipuncture (e.g., Goodman, Hirschman, Hepps, & Rudy, 1991; Peters, 1987) and urinary catheterization (Merritt, Ornstein, & Spieker, 1994). These studies, and others in the emerging developmental literature on long-term retention (see Howe, Brainerd, & Reyna, 1992), provide important demonstrations of young children's abilities to remember the details of personal experiences over extended periods of time. In general, memory performance can be quite good, at least under optimal conditions of interviewing, although age differences in both initial recall and degree of forgetting are observed.