Cleveland, E.S., & Morris (Biddle), A. (2014). Autonomy Support and Structure Enhance Children's Memory and Motivation to Reminisce: A Parental Training Study. Journal of Cognition and Development, 15(3), 414-436.
We led children through a "pretend zoo" task while their parents watched behind a one-way mirror (unbeknownst to the children). Parents were trained in different conversational techniques. Then, parents recorded a conversation with their children that night about the "pretend zoo." We coded these conversations for autonomy support (how much parents were supporting the child's own volition and point-of-view) and structure support (how much parents were scaffolding children to remember details of the pretend zoo visit). We also completed follow-up interviews with the children 2 weeks after their visit as well as 8 months after the visit. Results showed that parents could be trained to be more autonomy supportive or provide more elaborative structure. In the short term, children whose parents were more autonomy supportive were more excited about their memories and children whose parents provided more elaborative structure provided more details about their memories. To read the full paper, please see here.