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Event segmentation ability uniquely predicts event memory.

ABSTRACT

Memory for everyday events plays a central role in tasks of daily living, autobiographical memory, and planning. Event memory depends in part on segmenting ongoing activity into meaningful units. This study examined the relationship between event segmentation and memory in a lifespan sample to answer the following question: Is the ability to segment activity into meaningful events a unique predictor of subsequent memory, or is the relationship between event perception and memory accounted for by general cognitive abilities? Two hundred and eight adults ranging from 20 to 79years old segmented movies of everyday events and attempted to remember the events afterwards. They also completed psychometric ability tests and tests measuring script knowledge for everyday events. Event segmentation and script knowledge both explained unique variance in event memory above and beyond the psychometric measures, and did so as strongly in older as in younger adults. These results suggest that event segmentation is a basic cognitive mechanism, important for memory across the lifespan.