Autobiographical memory of school

Richard T. Walls, Rayne A. Sperling, Keith D. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Two studies based in the autobiographical memory paradigm were conducted to extend knowledge of recollections about school. In Study 1, undergraduates wrote 1 pleasant memory and 1 unpleasant memory about each of 4 grade levels. Memories from some categories decreased across grades, whereas others increased. More than twice as many memories were social as opposed to academic. Gender effects, causal agents, and event salience were reported. In Study 2, undergraduates wrote 8 recollections, unconstrained by grade or affect. There was a recency effect, and memories most frequently concerned misfortunes, sports, misbehavior, honors, and boy-girl relationships. Only 13% of the reported memories were academic. Future investigation might probe reasons for the dominance of unpleasant memories from the early grades as well as the paucity of academic memories of schooling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-127
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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