The Conspicuous Absence of Developmental Trends

Notable for its absence in this chapter is discussion of developmental trends in the data. This is not because we failed to detect them. Consistent with previous research on mother-child recollections of nontrau-matic events (e.g., Fivush, Haden, & Reese, 1996; Haden, 1998), there were several instances where dyads' conversations varied with the age of the child. For example, as discussed in Ackil et al. (2003), overall, conversations with older children included more varied types of information than conversations with younger children. Specifically, Session 1 conversations with older children were more likely than those with children from both the middle and younger groups to include references to time, causes and consequences, temporal connections, and mention of comments made by others. Importantly, these differences did not interact with the type of event being discussed. The only exception to the pattern of main effects of age, rather than interactions of age and event type, was that when talking about the tornado, the oldest children in the sample included more internal-states terms relative to the children in the other two age groups (Bauer et al., 2005). Additional research is necessary to determine whether this observation replicates in other samples. Overall, it seems that retrospective memory conversations with older children were more inclusive than conversations with children in the younger groups regardless of whether the events being discussed were traumatic or non-traumatic. These differences likely reflect the more advanced language skills and greater knowledge base of older children. Whether they may also reflect differences in older children's memory is unclear.

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