3. Autobiographical Memory Flashcards Preview

Memory & Language > 3. Autobiographical Memory > Flashcards

Flashcards in 3. Autobiographical Memory Deck (20):

Directive function of AM

Allows us to create schemes an enables us to problem solve for future events

Ie how to study for an exam, how to cook dinner


Social function of AM

Helps maintain and develop friendships

Sharing personal information increases intimacy

Facilitates social interaction, common basis of small talk

Individuals who have impaired AM suffer with poor social relations (potential asbergers)


Self representation function of AM

Personal memories are used to construct and maintain self identity

Allows evaluation of past experience... Life reflection
Leads to self insight and self growth


Adaptive function of AM

Remembering positive events and experiences as a way of mood regulation

Cope with negative situations and develop resilience

AM may be impaired in depressed patients so this function doesn't work


Methods to study AM

Diaries: participants keep a diary over a series of time. Provides true autobiographical memories. Tests: diaries are manipulated with false entries and participants must tell which entries were real and which were false

Memory probe: list of words to cue AMs which the participant then has to describe in as much detail as possible.
ODOURS are particularly good at cueing AMs


Periods of AM across lifespan

Childhood amnesia
Reminiscence bump


Childhood amnesia

Struggle to remember events from early childhood

Maybe because brains are not developed yet
Language is not yet developed in order to encode memories
Freud- repression (he's an idiot)
Development of cognitive self occurs around 2-3 years


Reminiscence bump

Unusual peak in memories over 20s

Lots of 1st and major life events: uni, moving out, marriage, babies etc
Novel experiences

Stable self system forms- development of identity

Met the friends they would keep forever, met people they would marry and choose careers they would stick with


Cultural differences in reminiscence bump...

No differences in the lifespan memory curve

There are differences in memory content
Individuals with independent self (western culture) tend to recall a self focused AM

Individuals with interdependent self (Chinese) had general memories with a strong group orientation. Relation-centred AM.


Types of autobiographical knowledge

Lifetime period

General events

Event specific knowledge


Lifetime period

general knowledge of significant others, common locations and actions. They have a distinct beginning and end.


General events

more specific and heterogeneous.. Compromised of either single or repeated events


Event specific knowledge

defining feature of memory vividness

Disorganised in ptsd and lost in some retrograde amnesia


Working self

Similar to working memory

Is a central control process which controls access to AM knowledge base

Reciprocal relationship with the knowledge base, knowledge base constrains the goals and self image of working self


Who am I? Charlesworth et al...

Experiment :
Test group- write about a personal experience with meaning and makes them nostalgic
Control- write about solar system

Write as many sentences beginning with "I am" as possible

Nostalgia group have more sentences, increase in psychological statements

We use AM to increase accessibility of self concepts
AM retrieval is most closely associated with psychological selves
Interactive self concept and episodic AM


AM in bicultural individuals...

Americans- more self memories
Asians- more group memories

Primed American ... Has the same effect as above!
Primed Asians ... Wang 2008


Bilingual individuals

English retrieval - self oriented memories
Native retrieval - more emotionally charged

(Marian & Kaushanskaya, 2004)

Memories are more likely to be recalled in the language in which they were first experienced
Language at encoding has a strong effect over the language of retrieval (schraufnand Rubin, 2000)


Living in history

Memories are recalled in reference to personally significant historical events

Historical significance is not enough to get the effect, personal significance is vital. One an event that had a big impact on the way of life.


Historically defined autobiographical periods (HDAPs)

Lifetime periods defined by specific events that cause numerous life changes.

Formation is dependent on the intensity, duration and novelty of events


Autobiographical memory

Memory for the events of ones own life
Similar to EM

Across lifespan for both specific and self related information