Being involved in a project with the collaboration of researchers in the field of psychology is certainly changing my view of the world.

I spent a memorable week-end in Barcelona to celebrate the birthday of a friend with a group of guests that he invited. The success of the event was obviously due to his genial and crazy idea, but I think that there was also a less obvious contribution of the autobiographical memory’s “reminiscence bump” effect.

Psychology tells us that the temporal distribution of the autobiographical memory (the memory of a person’s history) is not uniform. There is the childhood amnesia effect, that describes the lack of memories from our first years of life, and the recency effect that emphasizes our recollection of the most recent events. There is also the “reminiscence bump” effect, naming the fact that we tend to recall more personal events from adolescence and early adulthood, than from other periods of our lives. This explains our preference for music we use to listen at those ages and that our most pleasant memories are typically associated with this period of life.

It happened that this group of people was characterised by having theirs reminiscence bump coincide not only in time (we were all more or less the same age) but also geographically: almost all of us spent our youth in the same Lisbon neighbourhood and many of us went to the same High-school.

These coincidences and common memories created an atmosphere of complicity that will mark this week-end in my autobiographical memory well beyond the recency effect .

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