Memory, autonoetic consciousness, and the self

Consciousness and Cognition 20 (1):16-39 (2011)
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Abstract

Memory is a general attribute of living species, whose diversification reflects both evolutionary and developmental processes. Episodic-autobiographical memory is regarded as the highest human ontogenetic achievement and as probably being uniquely human. EAM, autonoetic consciousness and the self are intimately linked, grounding, supporting and enriching each other’s development and cohesiveness. Their development is influenced by the socio-cultural–linguistic environment in which an individual grows up or lives. On the other hand, through language, textualization and social exchange, all three elements leak into the world and participate to the dynamic shaping and re-shaping of the cultural scaffolding of the self, mental time traveling and EAM formation. Deficits in self-related processing, autonetic consciousness, emotional processing and mental time traveling can all lead to or co-occur with EAM disturbances, as we illustrate by findings from EAM impairments associated with neurological or psychiatric disorders

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