Over 100 years ago, Frances Galton began the empirical study of autobiographicalmemory by devising a technique in which he explored the capacity for a cue word to elicit the recollection of events from earlier life (Galton, 1883). After a century of neglect, the topic began to re-emerge, stimulated by the work of Robinson (1976) using the technique on groups of normal subjects, by Crovitz’s work on its application to patients with memory deficits (Crovitz & Schiffman, 1974), (...) and by the detailed diary study of her own autobiographicalmemory carried out by Marigold Linton (Linton, 1975). This early wave of interest was focused by Rubin’s edited book on the topic (Rubin, 1986) which captured a broad and growing interest in autobiographicalmemory. This trend was reflected very strongly in the submissions to the second conference on Practical Aspects of Memory, in which the study of autobiographicalmemory represented one of the major strands (Gruneberg, Morris & Sykes, 1988), featuring prominently in both the opening and concluding addresses (Baddeley, 1988; Neisser, 1988). (shrink)
Whether or not conscious recollection in autobiographicalmemory is affected in schizophrenia is unknown. The aim of this study was to address this issue using an experiential approach. An autobiographicalmemory enquiry was used in combination with the Remember/Know procedure. Twenty-two patients with schizophrenia and 22 normal subjects were asked to recall specific autobiographical memories from four lifetime periods and to indicate the subjective states of awareness associated with the recall of what happened, when and (...) where. They gave Remember, Know or Guess responses according to whether they recalled these aspects of the event on the basis of conscious recollection, simply knowing, or guessing. Results showed that the frequency and consistency of Remember responses was significantly lower in patients than in comparison subjects. In contrast, the frequency of Know responses was not significantly different, whereas the frequency of patients’ Guess responses was significantly enhanced. It is concluded that the frequency and consistency of conscious recollection in autobiographicalmemory is reduced in patients with schizophrenia. (shrink)
Theories of autobiographicalmemory emphasise effortful, generative search processes in memory retrieval. However recent research suggests that memories are often retrieved directly, without effortful search. We investigated whether direct and generative retrieval differed in the characteristics of memories recalled, or only in terms of retrieval latency. Participants recalled autobiographical memories in response to cue words. For each memory, they reported whether it was retrieved directly or generatively, rated its visuo-spatial perspective, and judged its accompanying recollective (...) experience. Our results indicated that direct retrieval was commonly reported and was faster than generative retrieval, replicating recent findings. The characteristics of directly retrieved memories differed from generatively retrieved memories: directly retrieved memories had higher field perspective ratings and lower observer perspective ratings. However, retrieval mode did not influence recollective experience. We discuss our findings in terms of cue generation and content construction, and the implication for reconstructive models of autobiographicalmemory. (shrink)
Lane et al. propose an integrative model for the reconsolidation of traces in their timely and impressive article. This commentary draws attention to tradeoffs between accuracy and self-narrative integrity in the model. The tradeoffs concern the sense of agency in memory and its role in both implicit and explicit memory reconsolidation, rather than balances concerning degrees of emotional arousal.
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)
Autobiographicalmemory and the self are closely linked. AM retrieval in depression is characterized by a lack of specificity, suggesting an impairment of episodic AM. Autonoetic consciousness and self-perspective, which are critical to episodic AM, have never been addressed in depression. Twenty-one depressed inpatients and 21 matched controls were given an episodic AM task designed to assess positive and negative memories regarding specificity, autonoetic consciousness , and self-perspective . For specificity, “remember”, and “field” responses, ANOVAs revealed a main (...) group effect and a group × valence interaction. Between groups, patients showed lower scores than controls for positive memories. Within groups, patients showed greater scores for negative memories, and controls showed greater scores for positive memories. There is a global episodic AM impairment of positive memories in depression regarding specificity, autonoetic consciousness, and self-perspective. Our results suggest new cognitive interventions to improve the self-relevance of positive memories in depression. (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)
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)
This article presents a theoretical model of the self processes involved in autobiographical memories and proposes competing hypotheses for the role of visual perspective in autobiographicalmemory retrieval. Autobiographical memories can be retrieved from either the 1st person perspective, in which individuals see the event through their own eyes, or from the 3rd person perspective, in which individuals see themselves and the event from the perspective of an external observer. A growing body of research suggests that (...) the visual perspective from which a memory is retrieved has important implications for a person’s thoughts, feelings, and goals, and is integrally related to a host of self-evaluative processes. We review the relevant research literature, present our theoretical model, and outline directions for future research. (shrink)
Major depression is associated with a decrease of 1st person visual perspective in autobiographicalmemory, even after full remission. This study aimed to examine visual perspective in healthy never-depressed subjects presenting with either genetic or psychological vulnerability for depression. Sixty healthy participants performed the AutobiographicalMemory Test with an assessment of visual perspective. Genetic vulnerability was defined by the presence of at least one S or LG allele of the polymorphism of the serotonin-transporter-linked promoter region . (...) Psychological vulnerability was defined by high scores of harm avoidance measured by the Temperament and Character Inventory. Life stress exposure, depressive mood, rumination, and familial history of depression were assessed through standardized procedures. Visual perspective for positive memories was independently predicted by both harm avoidance and a gene by environment interaction between the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and life stress exposure. Visual perspective and vulnerability for depression may share some biological bases. (shrink)
Building on Dor’s theory of language as a social technology for the instruction of imagination, I suggest that autobiographicalmemory evolved culturally as a response to the problems of false memory and deliberate deceit that were introduced by that technology. I propose that sapiens’ linguistic communication about past and future events initially occurred in small groups, and this helped to correct individual memory defects. However, when human groups grew in size and became more socially differentiated, and (...) movement between groups prevented story-verification, misattributions of events became more common. In such conditions individuals with better autobiographicalmemory had an advantage because they could evaluate their own contents and sources of information, as well as that of others, more accurately; this not only benefitted them directly, but also improved their reliability as social partners. Autobiographicalmemory thus evolved in the context of human linguistic communication through selection for communicative reliability. However, the advantages of imagination, which enables forward-planning and decision-Making, meant that memory distortions, although controlled and moderated by autobiographicalmemory, could not be totally eradicated. This may have driven the evolution of additional forms of memory control involving social and linguistic norms. I interpret the language and the social norms of the Pirahã as the outcome of the cultural-evolutionary control of memory distortions. Some ways of testing aspects of this proposal are outlined. (shrink)
This study investigated the mechanisms behind episodic autobiographicalmemory development in school-age children. Thirty children performed a novel EAM test. We computed one index of episodicity via autonoetic consciousness and two indices of retrieval spontaneity for a recent period and a more remote one . Executive functions, and episodic and personal semantic memory were assessed. Results showed that recent autobiographical memories were mainly episodic, unlike remote ones. An age-related increase in the indices of episodicity and specific (...) spontaneity for recent AMs was mainly mediated by an age-related increase in the efficiency of the three cognitive abilities. Remote AMs varied only slightly with age , reflecting improvements in semantic abilities. Thus, EAM development in school-age children is essentially bound up with the increasing efficiency of cognitive abilities. Results are discussed in the light of models of childhood amnesia. (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)
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)
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.
ABSTRACTMemory bias is a risk factor for depression. In two independent studies, the efficacy of one CBM-Memory session on negative memory bias and depressive symptoms was tested in vulnerable samples. We compared positive to neutral CBM-Memory trainings in highly-ruminating individuals and individuals with elevated depressive symptoms. In both studies, participants studied positive, neutral, and negative Swahili words paired with their translations. In five study–test blocks, they were then prompted to retrieve either only the positive or neutral translations. (...) Immediately following the training and one week later, we tested cued recall of all translations and autobiographicalmemory bias; and also measured mood, depressive symptoms, and rumination. Retrieval practice resulted in training-congruent recall both immediately after and one week after the training. Overall, there was no differential decrease in symptoms or difference in autobiographicalmemory bias between the tra... (shrink)
Over-general autobiographicalmemory retrieval is characterized by retrieval of categoric autobiographical memories. According to the CarFAX model, this tendency may result from avoidance which functions to protect the person against recalling details of upsetting memories. This study tested whether avoidance strategies impact on the ability to retrieve specific autobiographical memories. Healthy participants watched a negative video clip and were instructed to either suppress any thought , suppress any feeling , or think and feel naturally in response (...) to the video. Participants then completed the AutobiographicalMemory Test. Participants engaging in either thought suppression or emotional inhibition retrieved fewer categoric autobiographical memories than controls. These findings challenge the affect regulation component of the CarFAX model insofar as they suggest that regulatory strategies that aim to reduce awareness of adverse emotional memories do not necessarily lead to increased recall of categoric autobiographical memories. (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.
The capacity to perceive internal bodily states is linked to emotional awareness and effective emotional regulation. We explore individual differences in emotional awareness in relation to the fading affect bias, which refers to the greater dwindling of unpleasant compared to pleasant emotions in autobiographicalmemory. We consider interoceptive awareness and alexithymia in relation to the FAB, and private event rehearsal as a mediating process. With increasing interoceptive awareness, there was an enhanced FAB, but with increasing alexithymia, there was (...) a decreased FAB. Further, the effects of interoceptive awareness were partially mediated by private rehearsal of pleasant events. We provide novel evidence that capacity for emotional awareness and thus effective processing is an important factor predictive of the FAB. Moreover, our results imply an important role for maintaining positive affect in the FAB. Our findings offer new insights into the effects of interoception and alexithymia on autobiographicalmemory, and support concepts of the FAB emerging as a result of adaptive emotional regulation processes. (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.
Autobiographicalmemory plays a key role in psychological well-being, and the field has been investigated from multiple perspectives for over thirty years. One large body of research has examined the basic mechanisms and characteristics of autobiographicalmemory during general cognition, and another body has studied what happens to it during psychological disorders, and how psychological therapies targeting memory disturbances can improve psychological well-being. This edited collection reviews and integrates current theories on autobiographicalmemory (...) when viewed in a clinical perspective. It presents an overview of basic applied and clinical approaches to autobiographicalmemory, covering memory specificity, traumatic memories, involuntary and intrusive memories, and the role of self-identity. The book discusses a wide range of psychological disorders, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder and autism, and how they affect autobiographicalmemory. It will be of interest to students of psychology, clinicians and therapists alike. (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)
It is argued that Llewellyn's hypothesis about the lack of rapid eye movement (REM)-sleep dreaming leading to loss of personal identity and deficits in episodic memory, affectivity, and prospection is insufficiently grounded because it does not integrate data from neurodevelopmental studies and makes reference to an outdated definition of episodic memory.