A Theory of Autobiographical Memory: Necessary Components and Disorders Resulting from their Loss

Social Cognition 22:460-490 (2004)
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Abstract

In this paper we argue that autobiographical memory 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

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