Peterson, C., Bonechi, A., Smorti, A., & Tani, F. (in press). A distant mirror: Memories of parents and friends across childhood and adolescence. British Journal of Psychology.
Memories that were easily accessible (i.e., quickly retrieved in a memory fluency task) of Italian university students were assessed. They were from four periods of life: preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school/university. Half of the participants were instructed to recall only memories involving parents, and the other half memories involving friends. Across age at the time of remembered events, only memories of friends increased in frequency. For parental memories (but not friend memories), the proportion with negative affect increased over age, especially for males. There were also differences related to whether memories were episodic or generic. It was concluded that memories of different periods of childhood and adolescence can serve as a reflective mirror for developmental changes in parent-child and friendship relationships.