Reminiscence bump in autobiographical memory: Unexplained by novelty, emotionality, valence, or importance of personal events
People tend to recall a disproportionately large number of personal events from their adolescence and early adulthood. This ?reminiscence bump? has been examined extensively, but its causes remain unclear. In this Internet-based experiment, nearly 3,500 participants were given 10 cue words and were asked to describe the personal events that came to mind. Furthermore, they were asked to date each event and to indicate whether it was a first-time experience. Finally, the participants were asked to rate the strength of the emotional reaction to the event or the valence or the importance of the event. Surprisingly, the reminiscence bump consisted of relatively fewer novel, emotional, important positive or negative events. This result increases the likelihood of an alternative explanation?namely, that memory is generally enhanced in adolescence and early adulthood. However, this account has not been tested directly.