chapter  4
12 Pages

Autobiographical Memory in Childhood and the Development of a Continuous Self

T he development of a sense of self has long been considered one of the most integral concepts to the social sciences (James, 1890/1950). Children’s self-concept becomes increasingly complex and meaningful over the transition from early to middle childhood. In early childhood, children begin to categorize themselves according to their attributes (e.g., “I am a girl”). During middle childhood children begin to describe themselves based on relatively enduring and meaningful psychological traits (e.g., “I am good or bad at …”; Fischer, 1980; Harter, 1996). Eder and colleagues (Eder, 1989, 1990; Eder & Mangelsdorf, 1997) have claimed that even 3-year-olds’ self-descriptions reflect underlying organizing dispositions.