Déjà Vu All over Again: Effects of Reenactment on Toddlers' Event Memory

Judith A. Hudson, Ellyn G. Sheffield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Four experiments examined (1) whether reenactment improves 18-month-olds' event memory, (2) how effects of reenactment are affected by the time at which the reenactment occurs, (3) whether timing of reenactment affects recall over very long periods of time, and (4) how partial reenactment affects recall. Children were trained to perform 8 novel activities in a laboratory playroom, returned to the playroom 15 min to 8 weeks later to reenact the activities, and were tested for recall of the original activities 6 to 8 weeks after reenactment. Results indicate that reenactment improves toddlers' event memory (Experiment 1); reenactment is more effective after a time delay (Experiment 2); effects of timing of reenactment are even more pronounced after a 6 month delay (Experiment 3); and reenacting half of the activities is just as effective as reenacting all of the activities (Experiment 4). These findings suggest that reenacting events or parts of events can remind very young children of past experiences and inoculate against forgetting over very long periods of time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-67
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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