What is the ‘Reminiscence Bump’ phenomenon?

For those who’re a young person or older, you’ve in all probability experienced your mother and father recalling something alongside the strains of “when I was a teenager….”. This story often ends with an account of how they were not as choosy, or messy, or spoilt as the present era of youth. At occasions, they seem to go through bouts of nostalgia, where they paint a vivid picture of sure chapters of their life, as if that specific reminiscence is someway imprinted on their mind. The intricate details that you simply in all probability can’t visualize seem virtually exaggerated by them, completely entombed one way or the other in reminiscence.

But is your mother bluffing when she tells you what music she danced to throughout a specific wedding ceremony when she was youthful? Is it potential for individuals to recall certain occasions of their life with such startling readability?

Research means that older adults do have elevated recollection of events in their lives between the ages of 10 and 30. This phenomenon is referred to as the ‘reminiscence bump’.

Memory: Remembering and Forgetting

The Info Processing mannequin of memory is considered one of the accepted models of reminiscence. It could also help us perceive primary reminiscence features. This model puts forth the three kinds of reminiscence: sensory, short-term and long-term memory.

Think of the three memory techniques as being a kind of enclosure with a maze inside. The periphery, or the entranceway, with signboards to information you additional, can be your sensory memory. This reminiscence system accepts info from the sensory organs and is very temporary in its capability.

Once you take note of particular essential elements of that periphery, like the signs, you could navigate your approach additional ahead into the enclosure, ultimately finding yourself in the short-term memory area. Memorizing certain routes and repeating the details may help you in the course of. Brief-term reminiscence includes retaining round 7 gadgets of data for up to 30 seconds.

After a sure level, you’d be unable to rehearse all the routes by repetition, so you’d attempt to type certain associations that will help you connect the dots and successfully wade deeper by way of the maze. This remaining a part of the maze can be the long-term memory area. This reminiscence element is comparatively infinite in its capability. The best way you course of info, i.e. encode it, will determine the ease with which you keep it. As talked about above, making associations with beforehand held info and making it salient will possible provide help to make sense of the maze more shortly. Making your method out would encapsulate the stage of data retention.

In fact, retrieving info from a sea of information and figures consists of all types of obstacles, corresponding to forgetting. Nevertheless, opposite to fashionable belief, the potential to overlook info is incredibly essential. Imagine not with the ability to overlook even the most inconsequential piece of data. How would you entry the necessary elements of your memory or information in the event that they have been buried beneath a endless downpour of latest info? Dumping and recycling are integral in long-term reminiscence logistics to maintain our brains from getting rusty.

Our long-term memory is very just like a maze. It safeguards reminiscences about information, figures and occasions from an individual’s life. Then there are some everyday activities which might be deeply ingrained in our memory, a lot so that it looks like intuition. The fact that we will tie our shoelaces with our eyes closed or sign our identify without having to assume twice are good reminders of such a reminiscence.

The sequential presentation of data influences its recall. In a collection of data chunks encoded from an inventory, the ones at the starting and the finish are better recalled than these in the center.  The former is as a consequence of the ‘primacy’ impact, whereas the latter is as a result of the ‘recency effect’. How is it, then, that the ‘reminiscence bump’ principally defies the influence of those effects?

Why don’t you’ve gotten clear reminiscences of your early childhood?

As it turns out, the primacy impact applies to a sequence of data pieces processed together. With regards to reminiscences ranging across a lifespan, nevertheless, ‘infantile amnesia’ appears to kick in. We usually appear incapable of clearly recalling early childhood reminiscences (between the ages of zero to about eight years). The age of the very first memory differs from person to person, however usually abides by this sample. When you seem to ‘remember’ the get together celebrating your 2nd birthday, it’s in all probability because you’ve gotten been provided with an account of it, together with pictures. Your memory that far back is really a development of narratives that have been provided to you as you grew up.

Nevertheless, this does not explain how or why the reminiscence bump occurs!

The Memory Bump: Robust nostalgia, or is there more to it?

The phrase ‘nostalgia’ signifies a sure longing for previous occasions, a fond musing on ‘the way things used to be’. Nevertheless, ‘used to be’ doesn’t seem to specify a specific time. How is it that one’s inkling for the previous usually refers to an individual’s youth or early adulthood?

The memory bump might explain this selective nostalgia. Memory researchers have found that older individuals keep in mind extra events from their lives between their youth and early maturity. When your mother and father recall the first home they moved to in such vivid detail, they can image all of it, crystal clear, regardless that they could be unable to recall what that they had for lunch the day earlier than.

This finding contradicts the accepted model of forgetting, which notes an on the spot decay of data after being encoded at a speedy fee, and then a sluggish decline in the proportion retained.


(Photograph Credit: Educ320/Wikimedia Commons)

Why does the Reminiscence Bump have an effect on recall the method it does? Why is it that adults, after their 40s, are capable of more clearly recall events from their adolescence and early adulthood?

Totally different accounts for why the Memory Bump boosts everybody

Quite a few explanations have been provided as to why older adults experience the ‘Reminiscence Bump’ phenomenon. Differential encoding can untangle the dilemma posed by the bump. Four totally different accounts postulate how reminiscences from sure prescribed ages are higher processed and encoded.

The improved encoding of reminiscences throughout adolescence may be ascribed to a biological or cognitive talents account for the phenomenon. In response to this, cognitive and neural mechanisms perform higher during one’s youth, enabling higher processing and storage of enter knowledge and reminiscences.

A cognitive account argues that the increased proportion and clarity of reminiscences is as a consequence of the novelty of events skilled at the moment. Once we expertise something solely outdoors our area of comprehension, we try to maintain it in mind as a future body of reference. There are alleviated efforts at encoding and an increased rehearsal of events from that specified period, so they are more easily retrieved later.

The later retention of reminiscences additionally will depend on how accessible these reminiscences are. Subsequently, if they’re more salient to the particular person than others, sifting by means of the hordes of other recollections becomes a cakewalk. Reminiscences from adolescence and early adulthood are thought-about to be an important part of the self. These years play a big position in id formation, both private and generational. The id formation account of the reminiscence bump pertains to this facet. Contemplate an era when a serious band came into prominence, say ‘Queen’. Wouldn’t their music and its trendsetting attributes probably affect the id of a whole era of adolescents?

heres to the best year in your life meme

Finally, the life script account considers culturally prescribed norms. In response to this account, the early adulthood interval consists of most of the reminiscences that largely figure in the anticipated sequence of life occasions, which is affected by cultural appropriation. Graduation, marriage, buying a home, and having youngsters type part of the anticipated course of life and are retained prominently later in life. The phrase ‘reminisce’ has constructive implications. In keeping with this, the occasions which might be a part of the reminiscence bump are believed to be constructive, anticipated reminiscences, relatively than the destructive, sudden ones.


(Photograph Credit: Nina Paley /Wikimedia Commons)

Is encoding all that issues in making a sure stage of life extra relevant in these late-age reminiscences? Can we solely encounter the bump with private reminiscences in this specific timespan?

Is there only a single Memory Bump associated with personal events?

Some research have introduced findings that public occasion reminiscences may additionally type a bump, not just autobiographical reminiscences. In fact, the magnitude of the event and the emotional reaction it elicited in an individual is a decisive think about its recollection, however since public happenings type part of our id, those from early maturity may be part of a Reminiscence Bump.

Different analysis means that there are clusters of elevated recollection, not just a single interval. The retrieval cues which are used and the hints that jog the reminiscence may additionally affect the bump you expertise, not just the reminiscence encoding. If asked to recall vital life occasions, individuals sometimes expertise the Memory Bump inside the ages of 10 or 15 to 30 years. Nevertheless, in the event that they’re supplied with sure words and requested to type associations with reminiscences, the bump is pushed back in age, as it is not limited to culturally prescribed ‘important’ occasions. Similarly, olfactory cues, i.e., sure smells, might present a bigger enjoying subject and embrace earlier reminiscences that haven’t been verbally encoded.

The human reminiscence features in shocking methods. There are not any patterns to comply with or calculations to calibrate that can accurately predict what we keep in mind and overlook. Similarly, no regulation or principle can accurately postulate what and why we retain and discard from our memory. The ‘Reminiscence Bump’ phenomenon is simply certainly one of the many deviations and enigmatic areas in memory analysis. It is definitely not a set pattern restricted to predictable norms. We should think about it simply because it is—a bump in the stroll down reminiscence lane!

when i walk down memory lane meme


  1. Psychology Fifth Edition, Kindle Version by Girishwar Misra
  2. The Guardian
  3. Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  4. Nationwide Institutes Of Health (NIH) (Hyperlink 1)
  5. National Institutes Of Well being (NIH) (Hyperlink 2)