This article tests the hypothesis that self‐development plays a role in the offset of childhood amnesia; assessing the importance of both the capacity to anchor a memory to the self‐concept, and the strength of the self‐concept as an anchor. This research demonstrates for the first time that the volume of 3‐ to 6‐year old's specific autobiographical memories is predicted by both the volume of their self‐knowledge, and their capacity for self‐source monitoring within self‐referencing paradigms (N = 186). Moreover, there is a bidirectional relation between self and memory, such that autobiographical memory mediates the link between self‐source monitoring and self‐knowledge. These predictive relations suggest that the self‐memory system is active in early childhood.
Bibliographical noteThis research was supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (2014‐310) held jointly by Josephine Ross and Sheila J. Cunningham, and employing the Jacqui Hutchison as a postdoctoral researcher. We would like to extend our gratitude to the trust and to the children and families who participated in this research.
- Autobiographical memory
- self memory system
- childhood amnesia