Mother-Child Conversation About Past And Future Events
The development of remembering the past and imagining the future occurs through conversations about past events and future events with adult partners. In accordance with memory socialization, future talk also provides the social and natural context for children to understand the temporal concept and plan for the future. In the present study, we recruited 54 Caucasian mother-child dyads and 49 Chinese mother-child dyads. They were interviewed in pairs to jointly talk about specific past and future events taking place in two temporal distances from the present, namely, in the near and distant. Analysis focused on (a) cultural differences in mother's past and future talk (b) cultural differences in children's past and future talk (c) variation of mother-child conversation based on effects of culture, gender temporal direction and temporal distance and (d) relationship between mother's conversation style and children's response specificity. Results showed that regardless of culture and gender, mother's use of elaboration and evaluation showed the consistency between past and future talk, and positively correlated with children's specificity of responses. References to general knowledge were found to have facilitation effect only in future talk. Considering the cultural differences, Caucasian mother-child dyads produced more specific details in both past talk and future talk, but the difference is stronger in future talk. The pattern moved towards the opposite direction with respect to general detail. This finding also sheds light on the cultural differences in autobiographical memory and episodic future thinking during middle childhood and adulthood.
Koslowski, Barbara Marie
M.A., Developmental Psychology
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis