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Lecture 17

PSYC 2265 Lecture 17: PSYC 2265 – Lecture 17 – Autobiographical Memory: Forgetting and Emotions
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by OneClass1150173 , Winter 2017
6 Pages
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Winter 2017

Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 2265
Professor
Dave Cann
Lecture
17

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PSYC 2265 Lecture 17 Autobiographical Memory: Forgetting and Emotions
The Reminiscence Bump
People recall a disproportionately greater number of memories for events that occur
between ages 10 to 30
o There's a bump for things people prefer, and events they think are important or
historically significant
o A marked preference for songs that were popular when they were between 10
and 30
o Books that are memorable tend to be read between 10 and 40
o Similar effects are found for memorable movies
o Bump also for semantic memories learned in adulthood
Things we learn in early adulthood are remembered best
Memory mechanisms favour the retrieval of events from early adulthood due to their
importance and distinctiveness
o These events are thought of (rehearsed) often due to their importance and are
not subject to much interference because of their distinctiveness
Cognitive abilities and brain function are at their peak during this time period (better
recall)
Notion of identity formation
o Adolescence to early adulthood is the critical period for forming an identity
(events occurring in this time range will be defining of the life story)
Forgetting
A standard forgetting curve for the period immediate preceding recall
o Recent events are remembered best
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Memory drops from nearly 75% correct to less than 33% correct over a 4 year period
(Wagenaar, 1986)
o Like the classic forgetting curve (Ebbinghaus)
Common cause of forgetting in AM is lack of rehearsal (without rehearsal, memory
suffers)
Interference potential is great with AM
o Many events occur over the last month; retrieval is more difficult since no
memory is likely to stand out as being distinct
Many daily events are routine
o Events tend to blend together (transition from AM to autobiographical fact)
Retrieval Cues for AM
Out of the "W" questions (what, when, where, who), what is the most helpful, while when
is the least helpful
This is consistent with Brewer (1988) who used a diary study
o Locations (where) and time (when) were poor cues but actions (what) were good
cues
o Indicates that repetition of events leads to poor AM
o Replicates Linton (1975) which shows a transition from AM to autobiographical
fact
Constructivist Model of AM
Proposes that AM is reconstructed from an autobiographical knowledge base (not from
whole episodes)
Levels of knowledge in AM
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Description
PSYC 2265 – Lecture 17 – Autobiographical Memory: Forgetting and Emotions The Reminiscence Bump • People recall a disproportionately greater number of memories for events that occur between ages 10 to 30 o There's a bump for things people prefer, and events they think are important or historically significant o A marked preference for songs that were popular when they were between 10 and 30 o Books that are memorable tend to be read between 10 and 40 o Similar effects are found for memorable movies o Bump also for semantic memories learned in adulthood ➢ Things we learn in early adulthood are remembered best • Memory mechanisms favour the retrieval of events from early adulthood due to their importance and distinctiveness o These events are thought of (rehearsed) often due to their importance and are not subject to much interference because of their distinctiveness • Cognitive abilities and brain function are at their peak during this time period (better recall) • Notion of identity formation o Adolescence to early adulthood is the critical period for forming an identity (events occurring in this time range will be defining of the life story) Forgetting • A standard forgetting curve for the period immediate preceding recall o Recent events are remembered best • Memory drops from nearly 75% correct to less than 33% correct over a 4 year period (Wagenaar, 1986) o Like the classic forgetting curve (Ebbinghaus) • Common cause of forgetting in AM is lack of rehearsal (without rehearsal, memory suffers) • Interference potential is great with AM o Many events occur over the last month; retrieval is more difficult since no memory is likely to stand out as being distinct • Many daily events are routine o Events tend to blend together (transition from AM to autobiographical fact) Retrieval Cues for AM • Out of the "W" questions (what, when, where, who), what is the most helpful, while when is the least helpful • This is consistent with Brewer (1988) who used a diary study o Locations (where) and time (when) were poor cues but actions (what) were good cues o Indicates that repetition of events leads to poor AM o Replicates Linton (1975) which shows a transition from AM to autobiographical fact Constructivist Model of AM • Proposes that AM is reconstructed from an autobiographical knowledge base (not from whole episodes) • Levels of knowledge in AM o People possess an autobiographical knowledge base that is organized hierarchically, with three distinct layers of knowledge • Organization and retrieval o The first layer is lifetime periods: substantial slices of our lifetime characterized by specific goals, plans, or themes ➢ Within a given periods, autobiographical knowledge is organized into different thematic categories (e.g. work, academics, relationships) o The second layer is general events: a more specific representation of particular events that occurred over the lifetime period in question ➢ Knowledge at the general-event level can be used to access information at the third level of storage o The third layer is event-specific knowledge: here are sensory-perceptual details that can be used to construct/specify a given memory o Autobiographical remembering is a process of retrieval that proceeds from general to specific levels of the AM knowledge base
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