Title: Development of Autobiographical Memory, of oneself, and Emotional Understanding
Lab (s) Name (s)
Social Cognition Development Lab
GENERAL PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The interests of my investigations find themselves at the intersection of cognitive and social development, focusing on the development of autobiographical memory. Specifically, my investigation includes the perspectives of socio-cultural and cognitive development to explore the mechanisms to counter childhood amnesia and the development of autobiographical memory. I’m particularly interested in the relationship that exists between autobiographical memory and through the development stages in life and in a cultural context. With my collaborators, we have created studies to examine how the cultural constructs of oneself supports autobiographical memories affected the processing of information at a personal level and forming social practices of memories between individuals (example: understanding storied of memories between parents and children). These studies illustrate that the constructors of oneself vary across cultures as a function of social orientation, cultural values and narrative environments in which children grow in. As a consequence, these differences in self constructs have a strong effect on the structure, content, and accessibility in a long period of autobiographical memories.
PURPOSES OF THE PROJECT
The majority of our projects have an intercultural component. In my point of view, the intercultural studies of psychology and human development serve two important purposes: one is to reveal the cultural diversity in human cognition, emotion, and social behavior, and the other is to discover the mechanisms of psychological phenomenon that are somewhat difficult or even impossible to detect under only one sample of a population (Western). While the first purpose has important social and political consequences, the later has a large theoretical significance, including examples of different populations in one study makes it possible not only to examine how the physiological mechanisms in particular (for example, the development of memory) can manifest in nuanced versions in different cultural contexts, but also identify alternative mechanisms for a unique alternative for a unique cultural or sub cultural group. My investigation tries to achieve both purposes, with a focus on the processes and mechanisms of development of memory on both levels, cultural or individual.
RATIONALE AND AGENDA
CURRENT STATUS OF PROJECT
Wang, Q. & Ross, M. (2007). Culture and memory. In H. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of Cultural Psychology. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.
Wang, Q. (2006). Relations of maternal style and child self-concept to autobiographical memories in Chinese, Chinese immigrant, and European American 3-year-olds. Child Development, 77, 6, 1799-1814.
Wang, Q. (2006). Culture and the development of self-knowledge. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 4, 182-187.
Wang, Q. (2006). Earliest recollections of self and others in European American and Taiwanese young adults. Psychological Science, 17, 8, 708-714.
Wang, Q. & Ross, M. (2005). What we remember and what we tell: The effects of culture and self-priming on memory representations and narratives. Memory, 13, 6, 594-606.
Wang, Q. (2004). The emergence of cultural self-construct: Autobiographical memory and self-description in American and Chinese children. Developmental Psychology, 40, 1, 3-15.
Wang, Q. (2003). Infantile amnesia reconsidered: A cross-cultural analysis. Memory, 11, 1, 65-80.
Wang, Q. & Brockmeier, J. (2002). Autobiographical remembering as cultural practice: Understanding the interplay between memory, self and culture. Culture & Psychology, 8, 45-64.
Wang, Q. (2001). Cultural effects on adults’ earliest childhood recollection and self-description: Implications for the relation between memory and the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(2), 220-233.
Wang, Q. & Leichtman, M. D. (2000). Same beginnings, different stories: A comparison of American and Chinese children’s narratives. Child Development, 71(5), 1329-1346.
PAPERS IN PREP
Wang, Q. (in press). “Remember when you got the big, big bulldozer?” Mother-child reminiscing over time and across cultures. Social Cognition.