What is it about?

As shown by three decades of research, the way parents discuss past events with their child (i.e., parental reminiscing style) promotes child’s development of memory of personal experiences. This study aimed to document this relation by further exploring which components of parental style – both in terms of the structure of parental interactions and the content covered by parents – are associated with children’s recognition memory performance as well as some metacognitive skills available from the preschool years and known to support memory. More specifically, we investigated whether parental conversational style could be linked to how children monitor their memory operations (i.e., metacognitive monitoring) and use strategies to improve their performance (i.e., metacognitive regulation).

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Why is it important?

We found that some specific components of parental reminiscing style – namely, the ability to deepen information without repeating itself (i.e., concretizations with few repetitions) as well as the ability to comment child’s memory performance (i.e., metamemory talk) while addressing episodic information – are related to both children’s recognition memory performance and their ability to evaluate their own performance (i.e., metacognitive monitoring). These results further support that parents play a critical role in their child’s memory and metacognitive development. Besides, the link found between some components of parental reminiscing style and preschoolers’ metacognitive skills provides avenues for explaining the processes whereby parental reminiscing contributes to children’s memory. Finally, the identification of specific parental components related to children’s memory and metacognitive outcomes is an important first step for the creation of interventions aimed at improving parental conversational style that could be useful in populations at risk of developing cognitive difficulties.


It was a pleasure to write this article which joins a large literature on the influence of parental interactions on child development.

Christina Léonard
University of Liège

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Relation between parental conversational style and preschoolers’ recognition memory: The role of metacognition., Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, January 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/mac0000097.
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