Events, Narratives, Memory: What Develops?
Students of memory have been faced with the persistent problem of what it is that they are studying, and whether it comes in different types or whether there is a single structure, process, or function called Memory. Developmentalists face this problem particularly when they try to determine when and if some memory capacity or function emerges in childhood. In recent years developmental researchers have focused attention on generic event memory or scripts, episodic memory for specific episodes of events, and autobiographical memory as a particular type of episodic memory that constitutes one's life story. In contrast to these types of event memory is semantic memory, as first identified by Tulving (1972), which is organized as a decontexted knowledge system. In this paper I trace the evolution of thinking about these types of memory, based on early work with my group of colleagues and students at Yale and CUNY, and then bring this thinking up-to-date, based on a broad range of studies from other labs as well as our own.