Autobiographicalmemory and social cognition share common properties and both are affected in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). So far, most of the scant research in ASD has concerned adults, systematically reporting impairment of the episodic component. The only study to be conducted with children concluded that they have poorer personal semantic knowledge than typical developing children. The present study explores the development of both components of autobiographicalmemory in an 8-year-old boy diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, based (...) on three examinations in 2007, 2008 and 2010. On each occasion, he underwent a general neuropsychological assessment including theory of mind tasks, and a specially-designed autobiographicalmemory task allowing us to test both the semantic and the episodic components for three lifetime periods (current year, previous year and earlier years). We observed difficulties in strategic retrieval and theory of mind, with a significant improvement between the second and third examinations. Regarding autobiographicalmemory, different patterns of performance were noted in all three examinations: 1) relative preservation of current-year personal knowledge, but impairment for the previous and earlier years, and 2) impairment of episodic memory for the current and previous year, but performances similar to those of controls for the earlier years. The first pattern can be explained by abnormal forgetting and by the semanticization mechanism, which needs verbal communication and social interaction to be efficient. The second pattern suggests that the development of episodic memory only reached the stage of “event memory”. This term refers to memory for personal events lacking in details or spatiotemporal specificity, and is usually observed in children younger than 5. We conclude that the abnormal functioning of social cognition in ASD, encompassing social and personal points of view, has an impact on both components of autobiographicalmemory. (shrink)
Few studies have examined both episodic and semantic autobiographicalmemory (AM) performance during late childhood and early adolescence. Using the newly developed Children’s Autobiographical Interview (CAI), the present study examined the effects of age and sex on episodic and semantic AM and everyday memory in 182 children and adolescents. Results indicated that episodic and semantic AM both improved between 8 and 16 years of age; however, age-related changes were larger for episodic AM than for semantic AM. (...) In addition, females were found to recall more episodic AM details, but not more semantic AM details, than males. Importantly, this sex difference in episodic AM recall was attenuated under conditions of high retrieval support (i.e., the use of probing questions). The ability to clearly visualize past events at the time of recollection was also related to children’s episodic AM recall performance, particularly the retrieval of perceptual details. Finally, similar age and sex effects were found between episodic AM and everyday memory ability (e.g., memory for everyday activities). More specifically, older participants and females exhibited better episodic AM and everyday memory performance than younger participants and males. Overall, the present study provides important new insight into both episodic and semantic AM performance, as well as the relation between episodic AM and everyday memory, during late childhood and early adolescence. (shrink)
Much of ordinary memory is autobiographical; memory of what one saw and did, where and when. It may derive from your own past experiences, or from what other people told you about your past life. It may be phenomenologically rich, redolent of that autumn afternoon so long ago, or a few austere reports of what happened. But all autobiographicalmemory is first-person memory, stateable using ‘I’. It is a memory you would express by (...) saying, ‘I remember I . . .’. (shrink)
According to recent social interactionist accounts in developmental psychology, a child's learning to talk about the past with others plays a key role in memory development. Most accounts of this kind are centered on the theoretical notion of autobiographicalmemory and assume that socio-communicative interaction with others is important, in particular, in explaining the emergence of memories that have a particular type of connection to the self. Most of these accounts also construe autobiographicalmemory as (...) a species of episodic memory, but its episodic character, as such, is not typically seen as falling within the remit of an explanation in social interactionist terms. I explore the idea that socio-communicative interaction centered on talk about the past might also have an important role to play, quite independently of considerations about the involvement of the self in memory, in accounting for the emergence of memories that are episodic in character, i.e., memories that involve the recollection of particular past events. In doing so, I also try to shed light on a distinctive role that talk about the past plays in socio-communicative interaction. (shrink)
The early development of autobiographicalmemory is a useful case study both for examining general relations between language and memory, and for investigating the promise and the difficulty of interdisciplinary research in the cognitive sciences of memory. An otherwise promising social-interactionist view of autobiographicalmemory development relies in part on an overly linguistic conception of mental representation. This paper applies an alternative, ‘supra-communicative’ view of the relation between language and thought, along the lines developed (...) by Andy Clark, to this developmental framework. A pluralist approach to current theories of autobiographicalmemory development is sketched: shared early narratives about the past function in part to stabilize and structure the child’s own autobiographicalmemory system. (shrink)
Carruthers’ notion that natural language(s) might serve as the medium of non-domain-specific, propositionally based inferential thought is extended to the case of effortful retrieval of autobiographicalmemory among bilinguals. Specifically, the review suggests that the resources of bilingual inner speech might play a role in the cyclical activation of information from various informational domains during memory retrieval.
Recent empirical work indicates that reduced autobiographicalmemory specificity can act as an avoidant processing style. By truncating the memory search before specific elements of traumatic memories are accessed, one can ward off the affective impact of negative reminiscences. This avoidant processing style can be viewed as an instance of what Erdelyi describes as the “subtractive” class of repressive processes.
In this article, I argue that the relationship between place and self can be accounted for by recent theoretical work on autobiographicalmemory. The link between place and self is conceptualized as a transitory mental representation that emerges as a “place of mine” (personal autobiographical experience) from a “place” (declarative knowledge). The function of “place of mine” is to guide personal memory and self-knowing consciousness of periods of our lives. I combine inquiries of memory, self, (...) and place in a triadic relationship, a synthesis, suggesting a conceptual model for the phenomenon of place-related self as a sub-system of the self. This is formed by a causal progression from a physical place across time via emotional and cognitive bonds, components of the autobiographical information grounding the self, apportioned across declarative memory. Finally, using the methods of factor analysis and structural equation modeling, I show that the proposed model accounts for previous and new data on place-related identity. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that autobiographicalmemory can be conceptualized as a mental state resulting from the interplay of a set of psychological capacities?self-reflection, self-agency, self-ownership and personal temporality?that transform a memorial representation into an autobiographical personal experience. We first review evidence from a variety of clinical domains?for example, amnesia, autism, frontal lobe pathology, schizophrenia?showing that breakdowns in any of the proposed components can produce impairments in autobiographical recollection, and conclude that the self-reflection, agency, ownership, (...) and personal temporality are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for autobiographical memorial experience. We then suggest a taxonomy of amnesic disorders derived from consideration of the consequences of breakdown in each of the individual component processes that contribute to the experience of autobiographical recollection. (shrink)
Lindquist et al. remark that not all fear instances lead to heightened amygdalar activity and, instead, point to roles of the amygdala in detecting or stimuli. By reviewing research on the amygdala's functions in episodic-autobiographicalmemory, we further emphasize the involvement of the amygdala in coding the subjective relevance and extracting the biological and social significance of the stimuli.
The autobiographical Implicit Association Test (aIAT; Sartori, Agosta, Zogmaister, Ferrara, & Castiello, 2008) is a variant of the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) that is used to establish whether an autobiographicalmemory is encoded in the respondent’s mind/brain. More specifically, with the aIAT, it is possible to evaluate which one of two autobiographical events is true. The method consists of a computerised categorisation task. The aIAT includes stimuli belonging to four categories, two (...) of them are logical categories and are represented by sentences that are always true (e.g., I am in front of a computer) or always false (e.g., I am climbing a mountain) for the respondent; two other categories are represented by alternative versions of an autobiographical event (e.g., I went to Paris for Christmas, or I went to New York for Christmas), only one of which is true. The true autobiographical event is identified because, in a combined block, it gives rise to faster reaction times when it shares the same motor response with true sentences. Here, we reviewed all the validation experiments and found more than 90% accuracy in detecting the true memory. We show that agreement in identifying the true autobiographicalmemory of the same aIAT repeated twice is, on average, more than 90%, and we report a technique for estimating accuracy associated with a single classification based on the D-IAT value, which may be used in single subject’s investigations. We show that the aIAT might be used to identify also true intentions and reasons and conclude with a series of guidelines for building an effective aIAT. (shrink)
To provide the three-way comparisons needed to test existing theories, we compared (1) most-stressful memories to other memories and (2) involuntary to voluntary memories (3) in 75 community dwelling adults with and 42 without a current diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Each rated their three most-stressful, three most-positive, seven most-important and 15 word-cued autobiographical memories, and completed tests of personality and mood. Involuntary memories were then recorded and rated as they occurred for 2 weeks. Standard mechanisms of cognition (...) and affect applied to extreme events accounted for the properties of stressful memories. Involuntary memories had greater emotional intensity than voluntary memories, but were not more frequently related to traumatic events. The emotional intensity, rehearsal, and centrality to the life story of both voluntary and involuntary memories, rather than incoherence of voluntary traumatic memories and enhanced availability of involuntary traumatic memories, were the properties of autobiographical memories associated with PTSD. (shrink)
Remembering is one of the most characteristic and most puzzling of human activities. Personal memory, in particular - the ability mentally to travel back into the past, as leading psychologist Endel Tulving puts it - often has intense emotional or moral significance: it is perhaps the most striking manifestation of the peculiar way human beings are embedded in time, and of our limited but genuine freedom from our present environment and our immediate needs. Memory has been significant in (...) the history of philosophy as much in relation to ethics and to epistemology as in theories of psyche, mind, and self. (shrink)
in Jeremy McKenna (ed), At the Boundaries of Cricket, to be published in 2007 as a special issue of the journal Sport in Society and as a book in the series Sport in the Global Society (Taylor and Francis).
Next SectionThis article argues against two dominant accounts of the nature of nostalgia. These views assume that nostalgia depends, in some way, on comparing a present situation with a past one. However, neither does justice to the full range of recognizably nostalgic experiences available to us – in particular, ‘Proustian’ nostalgia directed at involuntary autobiographical memories. Therefore, the accounts in question fail. I conclude by considering an evaluative puzzle raised by Proustian nostalgia when it is directed at memories that (...) the nostalgist herself regards as non-veridical. (shrink)
Philosophy and Memory Traces defends two theories of autobiographicalmemory. One is a bewildering historical view of memories as dynamic patterns in fleeting animal spirits, nervous fluids which rummaged through the pores of brain and body. The other is new connectionism, in which memories are 'stored' only superpositionally, and reconstructed rather than reproduced. Both models, argues John Sutton, depart from static archival metaphors by employing distributed representation, which brings interference and confusion between memory traces. Both raise (...) urgent issues about control of the personal past, and about relations between self and body. Sutton demonstrates the role of bizarre body fluids in moral physiology, as philosophers from Descartes and Locke to Coleridge struggled to control their own innards and impose cognitive discipline on 'the phantasmal chaos of association'. Going on to defend connectionism against Fodor and critics of passive mental representations, he shows how problems of the self are implicated in cognitive science. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophical discussion of personal identity has centered on refinements and defenses of the “psychological continuity theory”—the view that identity is created by the links between present and past provided by autobiographical experience memories. This view is structured in such a way that these memories must be seen as providing simple connections between two discrete, well-defined moments of consciousness. There is, however, a great deal of evidence—both introspective and empirical—that autobiographicalmemory often does not provide such links, (...) but instead summarizes, and condenses life experiences into, a coherent narrative. A brief exploration of some of the mechanisms of this summarizing and condensing work furthers the philosophical discussion of personal identity by showing why a view with the structure of the psychological continuity theory will not work, and by illuminating the role of autobiographicalmemory in the constitution of personal identity. (shrink)
Are humans alone in their ability to reminisce about the past and imagine the future? Recent evidence suggests that food-storing birds (scrub jays) have access to information about what they have stored where and when. This has raised the possibility of mental time travel (MTT) in animals and sparked similar research with other species. Here we caution that such data do not provide convincing evidence for MTT. Examination of characteristics of human MTT (e.g. non-verbal declaration, generativity, developmental prerequisites) points to (...) other avenues as to how a case for animal MTT could be made. In light of the current lack of evidence, however, we maintain that MTT is a uniquely human characteristic. (shrink)
Difficulties remembering one’s own experiences via episodic memory may affect the ability to imagine other people’s experiences during theory of mind (ToM). Previous work shows that the same set of brain regions recruited during tests of episodic memory and future imagining are also engaged during standard laboratory tests of ToM. However, hippocampal amnesic patients who show deficits in past and future thinking, show intact performance on ToM tests, which involve unknown people or fictional characters. Here we present data (...) from a developmental amnesic person (H.C.) and a group of demographically matched controls, who were tested on a naturalistic test of ToM that involved imagining other people’s experiences in response to photos of personally familiar others (‘pToM’ condition) and unfamiliar others (‘ToM’ condition). We also included a condition that involved recollecting past experiences in response to personal photos (‘EM’ condition). Narratives were scored using an adapted autobiographical interview scoring procedure. Due to the visually rich stimuli, internal details were further classified as either descriptive (i.e., details that describe the visual content depicted in the photo) or elaborative (i.e., details that go beyond what is visually depicted in the photo). Relative to controls, H.C. generated significantly fewer elaborative details in response to the pToM and EM photos and an equivalent number of elaborative details in response to the ToM photos. These data converge with previous neuroimaging results showing that the brain regions underlying pToM and episodic memory overlap to a greater extent than those supporting ToM. Taken together, these results suggest that detailed episodic representations supported by the hippocampus may be pivotal for imagining the experiences of personally familiar, but not unfamiliar, others. (shrink)
Memory is prone to illusions. When people are presented with lists of words associated with a non-presented critical lure, they produce a high level of false recognitions (false memories) for non-presented related stimuli indistinguishable, at the explicit level, from presented words (DRM paradigm). We assessed whether true and false DRM memories can be distinguished at the implicit level by using the autobiographical IAT (aIAT), a novel method based on indirect measures that permits to detect true autobiographical events (...) encoded in the respondent's mind/brain. In our experiment, after a DRM task participants performed two aIATs: the first aimed at testing implicit memory for presented words (true-memories aIAT) and the second aimed at evaluating implicit memory for critical lures (false-memories aIAT). Specifically, the two aIATs assessed the association of presented words and critical lures with the logical dimension “true”. Results showed that the aIAT detected a greater association of presented words than critical lures with the logical dimension “true”. This result indicates that although true and false DRM memories are indistinguishable at the explicit level a different association of the true and false DRM memories with the logical dimension “true” can be detected at the implicit level, and suggests that the aIAT may be a sensitive instrument to detect differences between true and false DRM memories. (shrink)
In the general project of trying to reconcile the subjective view of the world (how things seem from the perspective of the embedded agent) with the objective view (the view of the world from the outside, as represented, for example, in our best physics), analytic philosophy, especially in recent years, has been almost solely focused on sensory phenomenology.1 There are two very salient features of the subjective view that haven’t been explored even on the descriptive side but that present prima (...) facie problems at least as great as sensory phenomenology. One is agential phenomenology (the experience of ourselves as agents in the world), and the other is temporal phenomenology. 2 The problems presented by these cases are very different. I want to focus on temporal phenomenology, by which I mean the felt character of a life lived in time. And my goal here is mostly descriptive; I’ll be exploring the question of what it is like to be the kind of being that has a history, that experiences that history in stages, and that keeps a running record of that history as it unfolds. 3 My suggestion is going to be that there is a special phenomenology, not supervenient on the sensory phenomenology, that arises only in the representational setting created by autobiographicalmemory and that is central to the felt character of a life lived in time. 4 (by autobiographicalmemory here, I mean not simply what is sometimes referred to as episodic memory - mental images of past experiences - I mean an explicit, account of one’s own history, rendered in explicitly first-personal form. (the difference here is the difference between a perspectival representation centered on the self of the sort that visual experience gives us and an explicit representation of self, of the sort you have, for example when you translate visual experience into a first personal belief like “I am such and such a place, seeing such and such”).. (shrink)
Philosophy and Memory Traces, the book to which this is the preface, defends two theories of autobiographicalmemory. One is a bewildering historical view of memories as dynamic patterns in fleeting animal spirits, nervous fluids which rummaged through the pores of brain and body. The other is new connectionism, in which memories are stored only superpositionally, and are reconstructed rather than reproduced. Both models depart from static archival metaphors by employing distributed representation, which brings interference and confusion (...) between memory traces. Both raise urgent issues about control of the personal past, and about relations between self and body. The books historical argument is anchored by a reinterpretation of Descartes dynamic physiology of memory and strange philosophy of the body. English critics of Descartes view of memories as motions complained that mechanistic neurophilosophy could not guarantee order in memory, and instead sought techniques for controlling the brain. In a new account of 18th-century philosophers fears of confusion in remembering, the author demonstrates the role of bizarre body fluids in moral physiology, as philosophers from Locke to Reid and Coleridge struggled to control their own innards and impose cognitive discipline on the phantasmal chaos of association. Finally, in a defence of connectionism against Jerry Fodor and against phenomenological and Wittgensteinian critics of passive mental representations, the author shows how problems of the self are implicated in contemporary sciences of mind. The book is an experiment in historical cognitive science, based on a belief that the interdisciplinary study of memory can exemplify the simultaneous attention to brain, body, and culture towards which psychological sciences must aim. (shrink)
The common sense regards memory as fairly exact, reliable and trustworthy in the majority of cases. However, latest scientific findings in the fields of psychology and biology seem to object this point of view. According to them, memory appears as a highly constructive and often deceptive phenomenon. These assumptionslead to various philosophical problems. The talk will address some of them. At first the question will be raised which conclusions can be reasonably drawn from empirical findings brought by (...) class='Hi'>memory research. Based on this analysis the relation between memory and truth will be examined more closely. Therefore I will ask which concept of truth respectively accuracy could be compatible with a constructive and dynamic character of memory and whether these insights will give rise to a change of our self-concept or the idea of man in general. This requires an inquiry of the relationship between self-concept and (autobiographical) memory that can be illustrated by the case-study of traumatical disorders, a field which so far is stunningly unnoted by philosophy. As a result of these findings some main features and further problems of the anthropological dimension of memory will be outlined. (shrink)
A core aspect of human cognition involves overcoming the constraints of the present environment by mentally simulating another time, place, or perspective. Although these self-generated processes confer many benefits, they can come at an important cost, and this cost is greater for some individuals than for others. Here we explore the possibility that the costs and benefits of self-generated thought depend, in part, upon its phenomenological content. To test these hypotheses, we first developed a novel thought sampling paradigm and explored (...) normative ratings of multiple thought content variables (i.e. valence, specificity, self-relevance, etc.) across a large sample of young adults. Next, we examined multi-level relationships among these content variables, and used a hierarchical clustering approach to partition self-generated thought into multiple dimensions. Finally, we investigated whether these content dimensions predicted individual differences in the costs and benefits of the experience, assessed with questionnaires measuring emotional health and wellbeing. Individuals who characterized their thoughts as more negative and more personally-significant exhibited scored higher on constructs associated with Depression and Trait Negative Affect, whereas those who characterized their thoughts as less specific scored higher on constructs linked to Rumination. In contrast, individuals who characterized their thoughts as more positive, less personally-significant, and more specific scored higher on constructs linked to improved wellbeing (Mindfulness). Collectively, these findings suggest that the content of people’s inner thoughts can 1) be productively examined, 2) be distilled into several major dimensions, and 3) account for a large portion of variability in their functional outcomes. (shrink)
Autobiographical memories typically give rise either to memory reports (“I remember going swimming”) or to first person past-tense judgements (“I went swimming”). This article focuses on first person past-tense judgements that are (epistemically) based on autobiographical memories. Some of these judgements have the IEM property of being immune to error through misidentification. This article offers an account of when and why first person past-tense judgements have the IEM property.