Making Memories: Reminiscing with New Zealand Children
This thesis examines whether culture, gender, emotional versus non-emotional events, and positive versus negative events influence children’s memory abilities. Data from 42 families were collected in Dunedin, New Zealand and used to answer four research questions: whether Maori children have more advanced recounting skills than Pakeha children, whether there are gender differences in children’s ability to recount past experiences, whether children have more advanced recounting skills when discussing an emotional event than when discussing a non-emotional event, and finally whether children have more advanced recounting skills when discussing a positive event than when discussing a negative event. Multiple regression analyses revealed no significant differences in memory development across cultures. Mixed ANOVAs showed no gender differences on memory ability, no significant differences in memory skills when talking about emotional versus non emotional events, and a marginally significant difference in memory skills when talking about positive versus negative events. Finally, there was a significant interaction between gender and event on emotion words used, with boys using more emotion words than girls when talking about messy events and girls using more emotion words than boys when talking about angry events. Overall, when considering memory abilities in children, there are many factors at play.
Keywords: Reminiscing, culture, gender, emotion, Maori, Pakeha