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  • Print publication year: 1988
  • Online publication date: March 2010

3 - Memory for randomly sampled autobiographical events


This chapter describes two empirical studies of autobiographical memory that focused on the personal memory component of autobiographical memory. These experiments investigated the characteristics of randomly sampled events and of events that subjects selected to be memorable. The autobiographical memory data in these experiments were obtained from naive subjects, not from the experimenter. Both experiments were designed so that it would be possible to study memory for thoughts independently from memory for actions. The second experiment was designed to study cued recall of verifiable autobiographical memories, and in this experiment systematic reports were obtained of the subjects' phenomenal experiences during the recall process.

The data from these two experiments were used to address a wide range of issues in the study of autobiographical memory. Memory for random events was compared with memory for subject-selected events, and memory for thoughts was compared with memory for actions. A number of analyses were carried out to uncover the relationships between the characteristics of the original events and memory for these events after various time intervals. The cued-recall data were used to study the accuracy of autobiographical recall and to work out the relations between the contents of the events and memory for the events. An analysis was carried out to study the relative effectiveness of various forms of cues for the retrieval of information from autobiographical memory. The data from the phenomenal memory scales were used to explore the subjects' experiences during the recall process.

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Remembering Reconsidered
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