We draw on our past experiences to extrapolate about the future, so it's interesting to find that the period we remember best is our 20s. But why?
As Katy Waldman at Slate explains, one theory is that it's the time of life when we experience a large number of important events, such as jobs, independent living and marriage, for the first time. We remember novel situations better, so that makes some sense. Another option is that the 20s are a time when the brain is operating at peak efficiency, so it's simply doing a better job of recording the information for later recall. Then there's the most tanalizing explanation; the 20s are a decade when we're creating narratives of who we are for the rest of our lives. Snip:
"In 2002, following in the footsteps of the narrative theorists, Berntsen and David Rubin advanced a “life script” account of the reminiscence bump. They defined the life script as a culturally conditioned storyline of events that make up a skeletal life course—and claimed that people often consult such a template when asked to remember their pasts."
If this is true, then we could better understand certain demographics by looking at the events that defined their 20s. If you're 40 today, your narrative (plus or minus a few years) is based on the 1990s. If you're 70, it's the 1960s. This is a fun exercise right up to the point you think about people now in their 30s. They'll best remember 2000-2010.
The full piece is here.