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We introduce a new scale that measures how central an event is to a person's identity and life story. For the most stressful or traumatic event in a person's life, the full 20-item Centrality of Event Scale (CES) and the short 7-item scale are reliable (alpha's of .94 and .88, respectively) in a sample of 707 undergraduates. The scale correlates .38 with(More)
A sample of 1,241 respondents between 20 and 93 years old were asked their age in their happiest, saddest, most traumatic, most important memory, and most recent involuntary memory. For older respondents, there was a clear bump in the 20s for the most important and happiest memories. In contrast, saddest and most traumatic memories showed a monotonically(More)
In the mnemonic model of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the current memory of a negative event, not the event itself, determines symptoms. The model is an alternative to the current event-based etiology of PTSD represented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.; American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The(More)
A representative sample of 1,307 respondents between the ages of 20 and 94 was asked how old they were when they felt most afraid, most proud, most jealous, most in love, and most angry. They were also asked when they had experienced their most important event and whether this event was positive or negative. In general, there was a reminiscence "bump" for(More)
Three classes of evidence demonstrate the existence of life scripts, or culturally shared representations of the timing of major transitional life events. First, a reanalysis of earlier studies on age norms shows an increase in the number of transitional events between the ages of 15 and 30 years, and these events are associated with narrower age ranges and(More)
Involuntary autobiographical memories are conscious and unintended recollections of personal experiences. In Study 1, involuntary memories were compared with voluntary word-cued memories, both retrieved in naturalistic settings via a self-paced procedure. The involuntary memories more frequently referred to specific episodes, came with more physical(More)
Subjective age--the age people think of themselves asbeing--is measured in a representative Danish sample of 1,470 adults between 20 and 97 years of age through personal, in-home interviews. On the average, adults younger than 25 have older subjective ages, and those older than 25 have younger subjective ages, favoring a lifespan-developmental view over an(More)
One hundred fifteen undergraduates rated 15 word-cued memories and their 3 most negatively stressful, 3 most positive, and 7 most important events and completed tests of personality and depression. Eighty-nine also recorded involuntary memories online for 1 week. In the first 3-way comparisons needed to test existing theories, comparisons were made of(More)
In three experiments, undergraduates recorded as many details as possible for autobiographical memories of highly positive and highly negative events in their lives. Experiment 1 replicated earlier findings for memories of highly negative events: Central details were recorded more frequently than peripheral details, and a weak correlation was found between(More)