The role of culture and self-construal in autobiographical memories of US and Turkish college students

Sahin B., Mebert C. J.

MEMORY, vol.21, no.8, pp.1004-1017, 2013 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09658211.2013.774418
  • Journal Name: MEMORY
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1004-1017
  • Keywords: Autobiographical memory, Self-construal, Cross-cultural differences, Earliest childhood memories, Individuation, Relatedness, CHILDHOOD AMNESIA, AMERICAN, CHINESE, NARRATIVES, CHILDREN, INDIVIDUALISM, COLLECTIVISM, ADULTS, RECOLLECTION, STORIES
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This study examined memory variables both cross-culturally and across four cultural self-construal types. US (N=240) and Turkish (N=174) college students described their earliest childhood memory, and another significant childhood memory, and completed the Balanced Integration-Differentiation (BID) Scale (Imamoglu, 1998; 2003), which measured relatedness and individuation, and allowed for the classification of students into four different self-construal types (Related-Individuated, Separated-Individuated, Related-Patterning, Separated-Patterning). At the cultural level US students' earliest memories were dated approximately 6 months earlier, had greater volume, and were more positive. US students also reported memories as more important. Turkish students' memories had more detail, a higher proportion of propositions, self-, other- and we-related words, and higher other-self ratios, and they were clearer than those of US students. Turkish students also reported greater ease in describing their earliest memory in words. At the level of self-construal the primary differences were between students high in both relatedness and individuation and those low in both. The culture by BID interaction was significant in only 1 of the more than 24 analyses.