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Abstract

Questionnaire to assess phenomenological characteristics of autobiographical memory.
1
CCFRA / PQAM-31
(Phenomenological Questionnaire on Autobiographical Memory)
1
Participant’s code:________________
Date:________________
A series of items are presented below about characteristics of memories, the responses
of which are neither true nor false, neither good nor bad. The data will be analyzed on a general
scale, never from an individual point of view. Therefore, please respond sincerely, as otherwise
the whole work will be useless. Your anonymity is guaranteed. THANK YOU FOR YOUR
COLLABORATION.
Now please fill in some demographic data, either providing the requested information
or circling the corresponding alternative:
Date of Birth: ________________
Gender: Male / Female / Other
Education: __________________
INSTRUCTIONS TO FILL IN THE EVALUATION INSTRUMENT
Please choose the degree to which the characteristics manifested in the scale
items are present in your memory about the event retrieved by circling the
corresponding number. Number 1 always means the lowest degree of agreement with
whatever each item states, whereas 7 indicates the highest degree of agreement, with
the rest of the numbers reflecting intermediate degrees between the two extremes. If
you have any doubts, ask for help from the person who is administering the scale. Thank
you.
1
Manzanero, A.L., López, B., Fernández, J., Escorial, S., Aróztegui, J., De Vicente, F., & Vallet, R. ©
2020.
License: Correspondence: antonio.manzanero@psi.ucm.es
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Please, consider the following characteristics regarding the event. Circle the most appropriate
answer.
Type of event
a. The Event was about:______________________________________________
b. Event Date: ________________
c. In this event I was
a. Witness
b. Participant
c. Victim
d. The duration of the event was
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Very short very long
e. The place where the event took place was
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
unknown familiar
Memory characteristics
1. My feelings were
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
very negative very positive
2. My memory of this event involves smell
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all definitely
3. I remember how I felt at the time the event took place
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all definitely
4. The storyline is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
very simple very complex
5. For me, this event means
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
nothing at all a lot
6. My memory of this event involves sound
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all definitely
3
7. My memory of this event is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
in black and white in color
8. My memory about where the event took place is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
very vague very clear/distinct
9. I remember other events that preceded and were related to this event
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all very clearly
10. My feelings were
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all intense very intense
11. My memory of this event is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
very fragmented complete
12. My memory of this event is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
very vague very sharp/clear
13. This event had serious consequences
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all definitely
14. Since it happened, I have thought about this event
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all very often
15. My memory of this event involves taste
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all definitely
16. My memory of this event involves visual detail
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all definitely
17. In general, I remember this event
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
with a lot of difficulty very easily
4
18. I have talked about this event
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all very often
19. Overall vividness is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
very vague very vivid
20. When I remember this event I see myself from outside, as if I’m watching a movie
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all definitely
21. I feel that I cannot remember some important element of the event
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all very clearly
22. I usually relive the event
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all very often
23. My memory of this event involves touch [or tactile] sensations
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all definitely
24. My memory of this event is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
very sketchy very detailed
25. As I remember it now, my feelings were
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all intense very intense
26. I remember other events that followed and were related to this event
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all very clearly
27. I am sure about the accuracy of my memory of the event
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all totally sure
28. It is difficult for me to put into words what happened
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all definitely
5
29. My memory about when the event happened is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
very vague very clear/distinct
30. The storyline of the event is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
very confusing very clear
31. I remember what I thought when it was happening
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
not at all very clearly
Instructions to correct the test
Items of memory quality: 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 19, 20, 23, 24, 27, 29, 30.
Emotional characteristics: 1, 3, 5, 10, 13, 25, 31.
Accessibility of the memory: 9, 14, 17, 18, 21, 22, 26, 28.
* Note that compared with previous versions of the questionnaire punctuation in item number
27 is in the reverse format.
References
Manzanero, A.L. (2008). Psicología del Testimonio: Una aplicación de los estudios sobre la
memoria. Madrid: Pirámide.
Manzanero, A.L. (2010). Memoria de Testigos: Obtención y valoración de la prueba testifical.
Madrid: Pirámide.
Manzanero, A. L., Fernández, J., Gómez-Gutiérrez, M. M., Álvarez, M. A., El-Astal, S., Hemaid, F.
y Veronese, G. (2018). Between happiness and sorrow: Phenomenal characteristics of
autobiographical memories concerning war episodes and positive events in the Gaza Strip.
Memory Studies. First Published December, 2018. doi:10.1177/1750698018818221
Manzanero, A.L. & López, B. (2007). Características de los recuerdos autobiográficos sobre
sucesos traumáticos. Boletín de Psicología, 90, 7-17.
Manzanero, A. L., López, B., Aróztegui, J., & El-Astal, S. (2010). Autobiographical memory for
trauma. Experimental Psychology Society Conference. Granada. doi: 10.13140/2.1.2445.7924
Manzanero, A. L., López, B., Aróztegui, J., & El-Astal, S. (2015). Autobiographical memories for
negative and positive events in war contexts. Anuario de Psicología Jurídica, 25, 57-64.
doi:10.1016/j.apj.2015.02.001
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Manzanero, A. L., Vallet, R., De Vicente, F., Fernández, J., Escorial, S., & Guarch-Rubio, M.
(submitted). Evolution over time of flashbulb memories about terrorist atack.
Vallet, R., Manzanero, A. L., Aróztegui, J., & García-Zurdo, R. (2017). Age-related differences in
phenomenal characteristics of long-term memories for the attack of March 11, 2004. Anuario
de Psicología Jurídica, 27, 85-93. doi:10.1016/j.apj.2017.03.002

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Article
The present study aims to analyze the effect of the passage of time on the phenomenological characteristics of the memory of a traumatic event of social relevance. The terrorist attack that took place in Barcelona (Spain) in August 2017 was taken as the traumatic event. A priori, this event meets the criteria to produce a flashbulb memory (level of surprise, consequentiality and emotional activation). A total of 364 memories from different individuals (78% women and a mean age of 20 years) were studied at five different time points, between September 2017 and December 2018, using the CCFRA/PQAM questionnaire. The results show that the memories only comply with the characteristics usually associated with flashbulb memories in the medium term (about 7 months after the events). These characteristics do not appear in a clear way immediately and are lost just over a year after the event. Therefore, the passage of time seems to have a great influence on the characteristics of memories of violent events, such as terrorist attacks. However, this influence may depend more on the relevance given to the event than on the elapsed time, as it is the relevance that determines the number of subsequent recalls, influencing the maintenance of the memory.
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The objective of this study was to explore age-related differences in the phenomenal characteristics of long-term memories of the terrorist attacks that took place in Madrid (Spain) on March 11, 2004. One hundred and ninety-six individuals participated in this experiment: 92 with an average age of 9.60 years and 104 with an average age of 39.41 years at the time of the event. To evaluate their real memories of the event twelve years later, Phenomenological Questionnaire on Autobiographical Memory was used. Differences were shown between the two groups in terms of memory quality, emotions associated with the event, and accessibility of the information remembered. Results were also represented using high-dimensional visualization (HDV) graphs, supporting the assertion that long-term event memories have different characteristics depending on the age of the individual at the time the event took place. Memories for adult people meet the criteria to be considered flashbulb memories, while in the case of the younger ones, this kind of memory does not seem to be generated. Young people are probably less capable of evaluating the consequences of an event, which results in reduced emotional arousal and a different elaboration of the event memory in comparison to older adults.
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The aim of the present study was to examine the phenomenological qualities of self-reported negative and positive memories. The study was conducted in the Gaza Strip, Palestine, and a total of 134 autobiographical memories about negative and positive events were analyzed using a version of the Phenomenological Questionnaire for Autobiographical Memory (Manzanero & López, 2007). Participants were university students, 80 percent were women and 20 percent were men. Results showed that negative memories are more confused, more complex and decay more over time than positive ones. In contrast, no differences were found between positive and negative memories on sensory information, spatial location, vividness, definition, accessibility, fragmentation, recall perspective, doubts about the accuracy of the memory, and how much participants recovered and talked about the event. High Dimensional Visualization (HDV) graph revealed that there were individual differences between negative and positive memories but no consistent differences across participants.
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In the present study 120 autobiographical memories about traumatic events, with negative valence, and about happy events, with positive valence, were compared. In order to analyse the phenomenological characteristics of both type of memories an specific questionnaire based on the Memory Characteristics Questionnaire (Johnson et al., 1988) and on the Trauma Memory Quality Questionnaire (Meiser-Stedman et al., 2007) was used. In general and in relation to positive memo-ries, results showed that memories for trauma contained less sensorial information, were more complex, and more difficult to verbalise. Traumatic memories were also less temporally contextualized, associated to more intense feelings, and people remembered better what they thought at the time of occurrence and think about the event more frequently. In contrast, no differences were found between positive and negative memories on spatial location, vividness, definition, accessibility, fragmentation, remember perspective, doubts about the accuracy of the memory, and talk about the event. We can therefore conclude that traumatic memory is not as special as previously suggested, and that there are no data that allows us to confirm the existence of repressed, and then recovered, memories. En el presente trabajo se compararon 120 relatos intrasujetos de hechos autobiográficos traumáticos (con una valencia negativa) y felices (de valencia positiva), mediante un cuestionario de auto-evaluación de características de los recuerdos elaborado a partir del cuestionario MCQ propuesto por Johnson y cols. (1988) y el TMQQ propuesto por Meiser-Stedman y cols. (2007). Los resultados muestran que en general los recuerdos de hechos traumáticos en comparación con hechos alegres se caracterizan por contener menos información sensorial, ser más complejas, más difíciles de fechar, con sentimientos asociados más intensos, un mejor recuerdo de pensamientos asociados en el momento de su ocurrencia, más difíciles de expresar verbalmente y con más pensamientos recurrentes sobre lo ocurrido. Por el contrario, no se encontraron diferencias significativas sobre localización espacial del suceso, vividez, definición, accesibilidad, fragmentación, perspectiva de recuperación, dudas sobre su ocurrencia, ni tendencia a hablar sobre lo ocurrido. De este modo, las memorias sobre hechos traumáticos no parecen tan diferentes de las memorias sobre otro tipo de hechos autobiográficos, pero tampoco podemos confirmar la existencia de memorias reprimidas y después recuperadas.