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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Joseph M. Fitzgerald


The present study examined early childhood memories for the relationships between memory phenomenology, visual perspective, rehearsal via photographs, and coherence. Participants (N=155) provided their earliest childhood memory (ECM) and a memory from later childhood (8-11). Self-report phenomenological measures and memory narratives were analyzed. Results indicate observer perspective memories are rated lower in phenomenology and content coded coherence and are more likely to be ECMs. It has been suggested many ECMs are rehearsed family memories or falsely recalled photographs, yet the current study suggests this is not the case. When compared to memories without photographs, memories with photographs did not differ in phenomenology, narrative coherence, and were no more likely to be recalled using an observer perspective. Additionally, this study supports the view of narrative coherence as a higher order construct which is related to the age of the memory, phenomenology, and visual perspective. Future directions and limitations are also discussed.

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