When's your birthday? The self-reference effect in retrieval of dates
Rathbone, C. J. and Moulin, C. J. A. (2010) When's your birthday? The self-reference effect in retrieval of dates. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24 (5). pp. 737-743. ISSN 1099-0720
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/acp.1657
Material encoded with reference to the self is better remembered. One interpretation of this effect is that the self operates to organise retrieval of memories. We were motivated to find out whether this organisational principle extended to everyday information and for material not explicitly related to the self. Participants generated friends' birthdays from memory and then gave their own birthday. We found that participants were particularly likely to recall birthdays from on or around the date of their own birthday. Thus, memory for birthdays clusters around self-relevant information, even when there is no specific attempt to recall self-related material. Birthdays clustered somewhat around the time of testing, important dates in the calendar, and for a close other, but not to the extent of the participants' birthdays. We suggest this is a demonstration of the organisational structure of the self in memory. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.