Article

Autobiographical Memories

Qi Wang, Cagla Aydin and Jessica Zoe Klemfuss

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0009
Autobiographical Memories

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Autobiography as a literary genre has existed for centuries—with Augustine’s (354–430) Confessions being commonly regarded as the first Western autobiography—and has gained increasing popularity in the modern and postmodern eras. The scientific study of autobiographical memory, however, is relatively recent. Autobiographical memories, as the name itself reveals, can be literally taken as the memories that we would write about in our autobiography, if we ever decided to write one, so that we might tell people who we are and how we have become what we are. Autobiographical memories are the memories of significant personal events and experiences from an individual’s life. Research on autobiographical memory has grown with continuous momentum since the mid-1980s. This is in response to the call made by leading cognitive psychologists such as Ulric Neisser to study human memory in natural contexts. It also reflects the increasing interests in pop culture and the research community in life histories and narrative self-making. The rapid development in autobiographical memory research further signals the practical importance of such memory in clinical, legal, and everyday settings. The study of autobiographical memory is now a dynamic, interdisciplinary research field that encompasses exciting discoveries, theoretical debates, controversial issues, intriguing phenomena, and emerging interests. It attracts researchers from all sorts of psychological subdisciplines—cognitive, developmental, social and personality, cultural, clinical, neuroscience—as well as other social sciences and humanities. The first section of this bibliography introduces general overviews about autobiographical memory, focusing on the theoretical discussion concerning its definition, organization, and functioning. The following section on textbooks provides selected resources to help the reader gain initial access to the diverse theoretical and empirical approaches to autobiographical memory and related phenomena. The next section is devoted to methodology, introducing the commonly used methods in the study of autobiographical memory. The bibliography’s remaining sections examine particular issues, questions, and areas that are of current interest to researchers in this field.

Article.  11041 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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