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The Results

Listen to The Memory Experience

Wednesday 24 January 9.00am

Mark Porter

Dr Mark Porter discusses the results of the Memory Survey

Professor Martin Conway has been analysing the findings with his team at the University of Leeds. He joins Dr Mark Porter along with Esther Freud and Professor Roy Jones to discuss the findings.

  • Women have earlier memories than men
  • People with "anxious attachments" are more likely to see themselves in their early memory.
  • People with "secure attachments" are more likely to have memories from an original viewpoint and are less likely to see themselves in the memory.
  • The Nations top "flashbulb" memory is 9/11
  • The Death of Diana, Princess of Wales polled second
  • The assassination of JFK polled third
  • Various other events were also remembered by significant numbers of respondents and among these were: resignation of Thatcher, death of John Lennon, assassination attempts on the Pope and President Reagan, and the moon landing. Amongst an older group the death of Stalin, plus a range of events relating to the Royal family also featured.
In the survey 1758 self-defining memories were collected, featuring events such as:-
  • meeting a highly significant person, including one’s partner
  • overcoming a problem, most frequently an emotional or psychological one
  • memories of deaths and births, surprising meetings, religious experiences, and of moments of achievement in many different aspects of life.
The memories spanned an 'age-at-encoding' range from about 5 years to 70 years. 60% of all memories date to events occurring in the 15 to 25/30 years of age period - known as "the reminiscence bump".

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