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

Şahin Acar, Başak
Mebert, Carolyn J.
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.