Scripts and episodes: The development of event memory

Judith Hudson, Robyn Fivush, Janet Kuebli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

131 Scopus citations


This article reviews recent research on how children organize general script knowledge and memories of specific episodes in memory. First, we discuss developmental issues concerning how children represent single episodes during the initial stages of script acquisition. Research indicates that even very young children quickly grasp the role of variation and invariance in recurring experiences. After only a few varying experiences, children come to expect more variation, but if the initial experiences are invariant they expect that all future occurrences will be the same. However, there are developmental differences in children's ability to ‘sort out’ a standard script from its variations if a single experience is different from all others during the initial four or five exposures with an event. In the second section we focus on how typical and atypical episodes are remembered after a script is established. Here, there are few developmental differences. Very young children up to adults are better able to recall deviation episodes than episodes that closely follow a script. However, cueing plays an important role in remembering both routine and deviation episodes. In the last section we discuss explanations for developmental differences in children's memory for specific episodes during the initial phases of script acquisition and suggest areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-505
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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