Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The present research consists of two studies which focus on the assessment of remote memory. The purpose of Study I was to develop remote memory tests which would be psychometrically stronger than those employed in the past. The following tests were constructed: Public Events Recall and Recognition Tasks, Public Galton Task, and Autobiographical Galton Task. The tests were administered to a sample of middle-aged and older-aged participants. The test items were revised based on the participants' responses. The Revised Public Events Recall and Recognition Tasks were then administered to a group of young participants to determine whether the items were primarily assessing memory for events experienced at time of occurrence or memory for historical knowledge. Item analyses indicated that the questions were generally assessing memory for remote events experienced.;In Study II the four tests constructed in Study I, as well as a Spontaneous Public Recall Task and a Spontaneous Autobiographical Recall Task were administered to another group of older-aged and middle-aged participants. The major purpose of Study II was to examine the effects of chronological age and historical time period on memory for remote news and personal events. The results indicated that memory for news events decreased with increased chronological age from middle adulthood to older adulthood. However, older-aged adults recalled personal events as readily as middle-aged participants on the Galton Task. This finding argues against a general decline in memory for all events with increased age. The effect of historical time period on memory for news events varied across the public tests, emphasizing the importance of method variance. On the autobiographical tasks, older adults recalled personal events from all life segments equally well. No gender differences were observed for either age group on the autobiographical tasks. However, gender differences were noted for the middle-aged group on two public tests. Older adults recalled personal events better than news events on all time periods, except for the most recent period. There was no clear superiority of memory for personal or public events for the middle-aged group. Examination of the usefulness of the Galton words indicated that the cue words are not necessary when recalling remote autobiographical or news events.



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