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Autobiographical Memory - Science topic

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The memory policies constitute an interesting scope of analysis when we are investigating individual and collective memory. Different government regimes, authoritarian or not (sometimes even in democracies), have for decades been reinforcing or even building memories aligned with their ideological goals. However, due to the panoply of approaches in the scope of social memory, which authors are essential in an investigation about the relationship between memory policies and individual and collective memory?
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Dear Rooney,
As a Ph.D. social anthropologist who focuses on cultural survival and human rights/democratization, I can understand why you might find it difficult to find reliable scholarship in this area. In my field of anthropology, this idea of "politics of memory" is one of the many slogans that leads scholars down paths of cocktail party discussions without a firm basis in the practicality of either how memory works (which is cognitive psychology), how culture change and social change work (which are social science questions on change), how to measure sustainability and cultural survival (which can become legal questions as well as multi-disciplinary measures) and how to memorialize cultural and environmental artifacts as part of community education (memorialization and preservation are really tools of public education and awareness as well as behavioral change, which is part of "social marketing" and "behavior change"). So, the material you really want depends on whether you are part of just a philosophical discussion or whether you are part of practical action on teaching history and using the natural and human environment as a part of public education on values like tolerance, sustainability and cultural survival. Here are a couple of pieces of mine that are on my ResearchGate page in which you can see the approaches that I have taken in public education, discussion and protection directly on the natural and human landscape.
“Taking History Back to the People: An Approach to Making History Popular, Relevant and
Intellectual,” Democracy and Education, Volume 21, Issue 2, Article 1, Fall 2013.
and
“A New Approach to Heritage Tourism in Southeast Asia: Why it is so Difficult to Protect Cultures and Build Bridges in this Region,” Transcience, Volume 11, Issue 2, 2020.
Best,
David Lempert, Ph.D., J.D., M.B.A., E.D. (Hon.)
Founder and CEO, Unseen America Projects, Inc.
Founder and CEO, Southeast Asia Cultural and Environmental Heritage Protection Project
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The narrative of memory dialogues with the 'time of the 'experience recorded' and the 'time of the narrative of remembrance'. Paul Ricoeur in "Time and Narrative" indicates the paradoxalities of the hermeneutic circle between the act of narrating the fact (remembered) and temporal dynamics. What can be understood about the plasticity of time in the dialogues of memory? Something that Ricoeur himself will later explore in "Memory, History and Forgetting". But would this temporal plasticity be a relevant factor in the transformation of non-biographical memory into biographical memory?
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Thank you very much, Rooney Pinto, for the clarification. Now I see the difference between one thing and another. I tell my PhD student (he has been researching intergenerational memory transmission for two years, and the fieldwork is over) to contact you through Researchgate. Of course, if this doesn't bother you. Kind regards, Maribel
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I am planning a study in which I want to experimentally manipulate autobiographical memory coherence. The main task is that participants will have to recall and write about important autobiographical memories. I am interested in how a concurrent (non-verbal) task (which would increase cognitive load) impacts the coherence of participants' narratives. The hypothesis is that reduced working memory capacity will lead to less coherent narratives. Can someone recommend a suitable secondary task?
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There are few considerations to be taken care of. If the writing is independent, such like the participant can write as he or she thinks, the working memory involvement is relatively low and long term memory effect is more active. In stimulus guided writing - following some visual cue and writing will cause more involvement of working memory.
There could be some approaches as follows:
1. Incorporate disturbance in the stimulus: undesired visual elements in and around the focus point.
2. Verbal arithmetic could be another way of disturbance, as it is totally working memory performance.
3. Visual pattern matching task.
4. n back tasks could be good one: you can increase the level of difficulty: 1 back, 2 back, 3 back(mostly participants will fail to do).
you can consider the performance error as a parameter and can correlate it with the change in cognitive load during multiple working memory performance.
But, it is still confusing if the brain perform working memory tasks through parallel processing or not. Your study could reveal this too.
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I need to find neutral cue words for my research on autobiographical memory and future thinking. I would really appreciate any information to have access to the word lists mentioned in the question. Thanks.
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Hi Meymune.
I suggest you contact the authors directly. E-mail the corresponding author in each of the articles. If not available in the article, a google search will give you their e-mail addresses. Good luck.
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To what extent do you believe that psychogenic amnesia is distinct from organic amnesia? What would be the differences and similarities between psychogenic amnesia and organic amnesia? 
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They are distinct in aetiology and also typically in both severity and reversibility. Organic amnesia is the product of a brain lesion, and tends to be severe and disabling, and usually irreversible. Psychogenic amnesias are rarely severe or disabling, and in most cases reversible as there is no associated brain damage.
I would recommend reading introductory Cog Psych textbooks, such as chapter 7 of Groome et al. (2013) An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: Processes and Disorders. Psychology Press.
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I am wondering if there is any difference in Autobiographical Memory Retrieval Mechanisms in response to different age group? I would be very happy if anyone can suggest me any papers to answer that question.
Thanks.
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I hope that some of the articles in the attachment to the letter will be useful to you.
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I am looking for papers on retrieval mechanisms of episodic or autobiographical memory. It would be nice if you can suggest any papers with link or without link.
Best,
Asheek
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Dear Researchers,
Is there any evidence for typicality effects in memory retrieval? For example, if I ask you to recall an example of a fruit you have eaten, would you be more likely to retrieve a memory of eating an apple (a more typical fruit) compared to a fig (a less typical fruit)?
I have seen this demonstrated in categorization tasks, but I am not familiar with any research on this in the context of memory.
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I think some would argue that categorization is memory - or at the very least, a process of memory.
I believe the *Episodic Simulation Hypothesis (http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/schacterlab/files/schacter_addis_buckner_anyas_2008.pdf) would point whatever fruit being more salient to the individual as what they will remember. So, in a way, this would be the more typical fruit. So typicality can be, in a way, relative to one's own categorization of exemplars and prototypes (expertise).
Maybe this Scholarpedia page has some answers for you: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Adaptive_resonance_theory
* The Episodic Simulation Hypothesis is focused on the mental simulation of behavior in the future, but evidence points to this ability being majorly dependent on one's ability to remember carrying out that action in the past.
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To my knowledge the most relevant references are the ones by Eich: 
Eich, E., Handy, T. C., Holmes, E. A., Lerner, J., and Mcisaac, H. K. (2012). “Field and observer perspectives in autobiographical memory,” inSocial Thinking and Interpersonal Behavior, eds J. P. Forgas, K. Fiedler and C. Sedikides (New York: Taylor and Francis), 163–181.
Eich, E., Nelson, A. L., Leghari, M. A., and Handy, T. C. (2009). Neural systems mediating field and observer memories. Neuropsychologia 47, 2239–2251. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.02.019
But I'm searching for other material. Any help is welcomed.
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 Sorry,
I've not realized my answer was public.
I've attached a paper in press on Minerva Psichiatrica, I'm not sure you will find it interesting but just in case I've sent it to you.
All my best,
Francesca
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We are looking for some references and possible collaborations for future publications. We are specially interested on Photography and autobiographical documentary.
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 You're welcome. And try to get in touch with Susana Noronha from Coimbra - she has an incredible work on visualization, art and cancer. I was a discussant on her PhD exam and was very impressed with the thesis. Best c
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I'm doing research about the contemporary visual representation of illness and anticipatory grief, specially in SNSs and I'm trying to contextuallice those practices also.
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A blog with a lot of references (in spanish)
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If an eyewitness remembers an event in a non-historical manner (ie, a digital camera recorded events differently than the eyewitness's recollection), how is that person's narrative experience impacted, if at all?
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I research about self-referential and autobiographical visual narratives and the first thing to question is the possibility of any photography or image to capture the truth or reality. An image is just the caption of a point of view, and there are so many conventions related to visual culture that I don't really think that there could be a "pure" image without subjectivity or intentionality. So... I don't believe we can talk about truth, I just find narrative truth even in images.
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When does perception end and memory begin? This question is rarely considered but has important implications for the science of psychology.
Folk intuition suggests that perception ends once the object of experience is no longer stimulating the senses. However, this demarcation lacks scientific rigor and is inconsistent with many physical theories of time.
Take for example time considered as a spacetime continuum. Meaningful events that unfold relative to an organism are always defined by time-like intervals. Therefore, the use of spacetime as a model for time in psychology would lead to the conclusion that every experience is memory-based.
I would be happy for any contributions you might have to this discussion!
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Brandon, you might be interested in the surprisingly low information rate of learning novel information (a few tens of bits per second maximum). This would suggest that we retrospectively construct an internal narrative that makes sense of sensations. In addition, the briefest glance can capture around 50 bits of information that is subsequently processed and memorised.
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I am interested in attentional factors during the processing of an impactful flashbulb memory
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Interesting question but not something you are likely to get an experimental
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Hello everyone, as a part of my second year in psychology school i have to write an essay about a topic of my choice, and i have started writing about flashbulb memories. Is there any evidence about the accuracy of flashbulb memories after a tragic event? What does current literature suggest? Any information would be valuable. Thank you in advance.
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"Flashbulb memories are not special in their accuracy, as previously claimed, but only in their perceived accuracy." For a study related to memory for 9/11, I highly recommend:
Confidence, not consistency, characterizes flashbulb memories.
Talarico JM, Rubin DC
Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
Psychological Science [2003, 14(5):455-461]
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I am completing a study about why false memories appear so real and would appreciate any real life examples of false memories to analyse
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I am not sure if this is useful information, but I once heard that many memories people have  about where they were and what they did when they heard news about historical events (9/11, the murder on J.K. Kennedy) are actually false memories. So you might chose some historical event, ask people their memories about when and how they heard about it, and then try to identify the false ones by checking if their memories can possibly be valid. You could then compare the accounts that must be false with those that may be true.
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Hello everyone. As part of my assesment on cognitive processes during the second year of my undergraduate degree I try to investigate if memories perceived as flashbulb memories (as defined by Brown and Kulik, 1977) could actually be false memories that have been altered in such a way to fit with the personal schemas of the person that recollects it. 
For example, during the recollection of an earthquake, someone recollects his dog barking before the earthquake, even though he did not have a dog until a year after the earthquake. The dog becomes present during the reconstruction processes that fit into the earthquake schema: dogs bark before an earthquake.
Is there any relevant research connecting flashbulb and false memories? What is your percepective on this issue?
Thank you in advance for your time. 
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You might find our framing of the issues surrounding flashbulb memory research useful:
McCloskey M, Wible CG, Cohen NJ. Is there a special flashbulb memory mechanism? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 1988;117:171-181.
Cohen NJ, McCloskey M, Wible CG. There is still no case for a flashbulb-memory mechanism: Reply to Schmidt and Bohannon. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 1988;117:336-338.
Cohen NJ, McCloskey M, Wible CG. Flashbulb memories and underlying cognitive mechanisms: A reply to Pillemer. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 1990;119:97-100.
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I would like to understand how my results fit within the levels of processing framework. However, I am only familiar with the original work that was completed in the 70s.
What sources (preferably review article(s)) might you recommend for obtaining a contemporary understanding of this phenomenon?
Thanks!
Brandon
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Brandon,
Here is great review article that describes the progression of levels of processing.
Baddeley, A. (2012). Working memory: theories, models, and controversies. Annual review of psychology, 63, 1-29.
I don't know much of the contemporary applications of this model, but I'm personally interested in inhibitory control.  The act of retrieving information can render subsequent related items less accessible, also refereed to a Retrieval Induced Forgetting.  This is a popular topic now-a-days and has a nice Wikipedia page that might interest you.
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I am writing a piece of coursework whereby I am exploring my own personal flashbulb memory and situations whereby I have returned to the area and experienced similar feelings of the situation and also imagery of the situation. I am exploring if flashbulb memories are related in any way to the context that you were in. The rest of the essay explores how flashbulb memories differ in their accuracy of recall depending on whether the event was negative or positive, in my situation this particular event of discussion was negative.
Thanks in advance!
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Elizabeth Kensinger (on researchgate) has many excellent relevant papers on emotion and memory. An early example is
Because of Brown and Kulik's choice of stimuli, what got called flashbulb memories in the literature tended to be negative. A couple like the Red Sox paper or Thatcher's resignation was positive for some (I'll attach a paper of mine Thatcher, but Kensinger's work more directly addresses your question. I think one of the problems in flashbulb memory research is defining what one means by flashbulb memories.
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Any article/book that compares elements in narratives and autobiographic trauma?
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dear khagendra
read  Thomas de quincey's  '' confessions an English opium eater''
and  kurt cobain's suicide notes
also , gramachi and spinoza
good luck with your research
a.
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I am writing a piece of coursework where I am looking into similarities and differences between eyewitness testimony and flashbulb memory. Any similarities and differences research which links the two would be appreciated as I am struggling to find any.
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Actually, if you want a very different approach to flashbulb memories and emotional events, see the link below. Harvey Whitehouse is a brilliant cognitive anthropologist working on religion. This is an exciting area for both academic and world reasons.
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Is it possible to create autobiographical memories in a lab? I've seen some experiments about autobiographical memories in labs, but in their procedures the create an event to be recalled later. Alhought we can create events and after ask the participants to answer, how can we tell if we are evaluating episodic memories or autobiographical memories?
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The answer will depend on how you define autobiographical events. Of course things that happen to somebody in the lab or in their home or where ever are part of their autobiographies, but if you use that line of argument everything would qualify. Worth seeing Martin Conway's work on this.
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Hallo! I'm searching for the MCQ, evaluated by Johnson and colleagues (1988). Have you got any information on the use of the questionnaire in the field of autobiographical memories? Someone can help me to find a copy of the questionnaire? It would help me for assessing if and how narrative can change autobiographical memory retrieval. 
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Dear Chiara,
Researchers have used MCQ for autobiographical memory in this paper:
Selective effects of emotion on the phenomenal characteristics
of autobiographical memories.
Alexandre Schaefer and Pierre Philippot. http://www.ecsa.ucl.ac.be/personnel/philippot/Evocation.pdf
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A Paradox?
It is well established that severely depressed patients have deficits in their autobiographical memory - their memories are 'overgeneral' and lacking in any detail.
Studies suggest that severely depressed patients tend to ruminate on memories of misfortunes in their lives. But if severely depressed people cannot remember the past in any great detail, how can they ruminate with any great detail on only their misfortunes?
Is the answer that rumination is more likely to be found in mild/moderate cases than in the more severe forms of depression?
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The problem seems to be that the working memory is unable to get rid of irrelevant negative information.
De Raedt, R. & Koster, E.H.W. (2010). Understanding vulnerability for
depression from a cognitive neuroscience perspective: a reappraisal of
attentional factors and a new conceptual framework.
Cognitive, Affectiveand Behavioural Neuroscience
, 10, 50-70
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I am especially interested in clarifying whether variables such as duration of illness, duration of medication, age at onset, hospitalization, number of depressive episodes etc. can be suggested as possible moderators for the relationship between depressiveness (BDI score) and different declarative memory functions in clinically depressed patients. Additionally, I am not quite sure whether to perform a moderation analysis instead of a mediation analysis and if it is a commonly accepted method of choise for this issue.
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Yes, the number of episodes is an intermadiate factor. Have a look to our analysis in
Gorwood P et al. (2008) Toxic effects of depression on brain function: Impairment of delayed recall reflects the cumulative length of the depressive disorder in a large sample of depressed out-patients. Am J Psychiatry, 165:731-739.