Autobiographical memory Flashcards Preview

Cognition > Autobiographical memory > Flashcards

Flashcards in Autobiographical memory Deck (73):

To whom/what does autobiographical memory refer to?

Refers to the self (self-reference)


What is autobiographical memory?

Memory of remembering/re-living an event


What sort of features do autobiographical memories contain?

High in imagery
Contain perceptual & sensory features


What types of events are most likely to be recalled with a highly detailed AM?

Unusual + detailed events
Unusual + recent events


What do Williams, Conway & Cohen (2008) state are the functions of AM?

- directive functions
- social functions (sharing AMs --> pleasant, socially-supportive)
- self-representation
- help us cope with adversity


Which researcher/s recorded 2 events (with 4 cues for each) per day for 6 years?

Wagenaar (1986)


What did Wagenaar (1986) find?

Who, what & where cues were best at evoking a memory
When cues were less efficient

He recalled more info from salient & emotionally-involving events


Robinson (1976) used a Galton Cueing Technique in his study? What did he do & what did he find?

He compared participants' mean response times to recall a memory of an event in response to different cues (actions vs. objects vs. emotions)

Participants recalled events faster after action & object cues

--> specific AMs aren't always accessed via the emotion they are associated with


Which researcher/s investigated whether differences in properties of cue words produced differences in the AMs obtained?
What properties did they look at?
What did they find?

Rubin & Schulkind (1997) investigated whether differences in IMAGERY, CONCRETENESS & MEANINGFULNESS produced differences in AMs obtained

Meaningful memories were best remembered for 20, 35 & 70 y/o


When/why does priming occur?

When exposure to a stimulus (word/event) leads to a faster response to another stimulus

--> have faster access to stimuli associated with the prime word/event


When deciding whether a letter string is a word/non-word, we decide faster if the string is preceded by a word that is EPISODICALLY/SEMANTICALLY related to it


(e.g. nurse --> doctor)


What questionnaire did Conway & Bekerian (1987) design?

Personal Memory Questionnaire


How did they use this in their study?

Used it to identify cues for AM retrieval

Pps had to identify 10 general 'Life Periods' & 4-5 'General Events' for each Life Period

Pps then retrieved memories to primed & unprimed semantic category cues, then to personal primes (Life Periods) & personal history cues (General Events)


What did Conway & Bekerian (1987) find?

Only personal primes helped memory retrieval


What do Lifetime Goals facilitate access to?

Memories of successful goal completion


Describe a typical lifespan AM retrieval task.

Pps (>40 y/o) generate AMs in response to Galton Cues
They date their memories (how old they were when it occurred) & the experimenter plots the number of memories from each age


Which are the stages of the Lifespan Retrieval Curve?

1. Childhood/infantile amnesia
2. Reminiscence bump
3. Recency effect


Which research supports the idea that adults can remember little events from when they were very young (childhood amnesia)?

Robinson-Riegler (2012) - adults are unable to retrieve episodic memories from before 3-4 y/o, and retrieve fewer memories from before age 10 (fewer than what might be expected given the passage of time)


What study disproves the idea that people can't remember memories before the age of 3?

Sheffield & Hudson (1994) - 2 y/os could recall playing with toys in a study they had done 6 months earlier

Children younger than 2 can recall events that occurred when they were 11 months


How are is the memory of 2-3 y/o different from that of older children?

2/3 y/o can recall some events but fewer details unless the event is salient


Wheeler, Stuss & Tulving (1997) found that 2/3 y/o recalled events that had occurred a year before. Why might their study support childhood amnesia though?

2/3 y/o's memories were the recalls of factual info - they had no conscious recollection of the events so their memories can't be classed as AMs


Why might young children not be able to form AMs?

We can't reflect on ourselves & our past experiences until we are 2-3 y/o (when our self-concept & self-awareness starts to develop)


The onset of a cognitive self (at 18-24 months old, as indicated by mirror self-recognition) provides a knowledge structure that organises our memories of experiences. Which researcher/s said this?

Howe & Courage (1993)


What does our self-concept consist of?

A physical self (self-recognition) & psychological self (temporarily-extended self, exists over time)


Without a self-concept what form do our memories take?

Our memories are episodic (linked to time & space) but not autobiographical (linked to the self)


What is autonoetic consciousness?

The experience of oneself engaging in an event

Awareness of a previous conscious experience


What is the Reminiscence Bump?

Most events that we recall occurred between 15-30 y/o


What did Conway et al. (2005) find out about the Reminiscence Bump?

It is observed across cultures


The Reminiscence Bump might be linked to feelings of 'nostalgia for our generation' that we identify with our teen years/20s. Who said this?

Sehulster (1996)


What does Conway et al. (2005) say is formed during the Reminiscence Bump?

A stable 'self' is formed


What research supports the Reminiscence Bump?

Jansari & Parkin (1996) had pps (36-40, 46-50, 56-60) recall events freely OR were told not to recall recent events. They found that constraint didn't affect older pps but showed a RB in younger pps


What is the 3rd stage of the Lifespan Retrieval Curve?

Recency effect


What does the 3rd stage of the Lifespan Retrieval Curve claim?

Recency effect

Items recently studied are more accessible (more available in STM store) than items studied earlier (which we must retrieve from our LTM store)


What research supports the Recency Effect?

Tzeng (1973), before & after they presented pps with each to-be-recalled word, had them count backwards for 20 seconds. At the end of each 10-word list, pps freely recalled words in the list. After 4 lists, pps freely recalled words from all 4 lists.

Found that both INITIAL recall & FINAL recall showed a positive recency effect


What are the stages of the retrieval cycle?

1. Elaborate a cue
2. Search your autobiographical knowledge base
3. Evaluate the output
4. Termination/recycle


Conway (2004/5) found that retrieval is controlled by...

...the SAS/CS, which contains a model of the 'working self'


What is the 'working self'?

A concept of the ‘self’ that reflects our current goals & priorities; a subset of WM control processes; can create a temporary model of task demands & constraints; encoding & retrieving personal events is influenced by the goal structure of the working self


What sort of info do older adults produce during AM retrieval?

Less detailed but more generic (schematic) info


Older adults produce less detailed but more generic (schematic) info during AM retrieval. What emotions is this associated with?

A higher likelihood of depression, reduced well-being & lower life satisfaction


Older adults recalled less episodic details but more schematic info (traits, preferences, general info about places, etc.). Who found this?

Abram et al. (2014)


What are AMs associated with?

A sense of re-living the remembered past event (autonoetic consciousness) - remembering, not just knowing, that it occurred


What sort of info does AM rely on?

Specific sensory-perceptual info


What type of info is an important source of sensory-perceptual info?

Visual imagery


What sort of vivid imagery is associated with AMs?

Vivid visual imagery - we are more likely to believe we are remembering an event if memory is accompanied by a vivid visual image


Which brain areas did Cabeza et al. (2007) find that AM is associated with?

More activation in posterior areas that play a role in visual imagery


What is an observer perspective?

Imagining a past event & seeing yourself in that event, as if you were observing yourself


What is a field perspective?

Imagining/’seeing’ an event as if looking through your own eyes


What type of perspective are actions & objects usually associated with?

Observer perspective


What percentage of participants in Nigro & Neisser's (1983) study recalled AMs from a Field perspective & Observer perspective in response to cues?

51% recalled from Field
37% recalled from Observer
12% recalled from neither


Nigro & Neisser (1983) found that for more recent or vivid memories, pps were more likely to use a ______ perspective.

Field perspective


Nigro & Neisser (1983) found that for more emotionally intense & self-aware memories, pps were more likely to use a ______ perspective.

Observer perspective


Nigro & Neisser (1983) found that when the focus was on feelings, memories were more likely to be recalled from a ______ perspective.

Field (69%)


Nigro & Neisser (1983) found that when the focus was on objective details, memories were more likely to be recalled from a ______ perspective.

Observer (54%)


McIsaac & Eich (2004) found that most people with PTSD recall the traumatic event from a ______ perspective.

Field perspective (64%) - more emotional & anxiety-provoking than Observer

Both Observer & Field are detailed though


From a Field perspective, what does detail focus on?

Feelings & internal states


From an Observer perspective, what does detail focus on?

External features of the situation


Which area of the brain plays a role in self-referential processing & perspective taking? (D'Argembeau et al., 2007)

The mPFC


Which researcher/s had pps look at photos they had taken & photos other people had taken?

Cabeza et al. (2007)


What did Cabeza et al. (2007) find in their study?

Looking at photos you took & photos that someone else had taken both activated the mtPFC


Which areas of the brain is AM associated with?

mPFC - related to self-referential processing
Visual & parahippocampal regions - related to visual/spatial memory
Hippocampus - related to recollection


According to Conway's (2005) theory of AM, what do AMs retain knowledge about?

Knowledge about the experienced self


Do we always produce a recollective experience when recalling AMs?

No - only occurs when autobiographical knowledge retains access to associated episodic memories


What are AMs made on the basis of?

The autobiographical knowledge base (= facts about ourselves & our past)


AMs are transitory. TRUE/FALSE?

True - AMs are transitory (temporary)


The AM system depends on the interaction between the...

...knowledge base & working self


What is our working self comprised of?

Our active goals & self-images
Conceptual self-knowledge (job, family, goals) which is socially constructed on family background, peer influence, school & other facts that influence the representation of you


What does the working self modulate access to?

Modulates access to LTM & is itself influenced by LTM


For the AM system to be effective, it must be...

Correspond with outside reality


When the link between our knowledge base & working self is lost, what might happen?

Confabulation / delusion


Is our knowledge base hierarchical?

YES - it is split into different time periods & 'general events'


How is our knowledge base conceptualised?

It is conceptualised at an abstract level but can lead to specific AMs (e.g. a job interview) – these might have been stored at a more fundamental level containing detailed sensory-perceptual info (e.g. room where interview was held)


What convinces us that our memory is genuine, rather than a confabulation?

The sensory detail in the memory


Conway claims that the process of recollecting detail & recognising that it is familiar is based on...

...autonoetic consciousness