Understanding Autobiographical Memory: Theories and Approaches

Cambridge University Press
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The field of autobiographical memory has made dramatic advances since the first collection of papers in the area was published in 1986. Now, over 25 years on, this book reviews and integrates the many theories, perspectives, and approaches that have evolved over the last decades. A truly eminent collection of editors and contributors appraise the basic neural systems of autobiographical memory; its underlying cognitive structures and retrieval processes; how it develops in infancy and childhood, and then breaks down in aging; its social and cultural aspects; and its relation to personality and the self. Autobiographical memory has demonstrated a strong ability to establish clear empirical generalizations, and has shown its practical relevance by deepening our understanding of several clinical disorders - as well as the induction of false memories in the legal system. It has also become an important topic for brain studies, and helped to enlarge our general understanding of the brain.
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About the author

Dorthe Berntsen is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Aarhus where she was awarded a Centre of Excellence grant from the Danish National Research Foundation to establish the Center on Autobiographical Memory Research. She is the author of Involuntary Autobiographical Memories: An Introduction to the Unbidden Past (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

David C. Rubin is Juanita M. Kreps Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke University. He is a leading researcher in the field of autobiographical memory and the editor of Remembering our Past: Studies in Autobiographical Memory (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and Autobiographical Memory (Cambridge University Press, 1986) among other books.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Sep 27, 2012
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Pages
381
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ISBN
9781139576758
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In this resonant, scholarly work, Bruce Ross presents an encompassing theoretical framework and overview of autobiographical memory. Drawing on a wide range of ideas from academic psychology, the social sciences, psychoanalysis, and the humanistic disciplines, the author presents a stimulating and original perspective on this increasingly important topic. Ross' description encompasses the full range of subjective responsiveness to personal memories, both with and without awareness, including real-world social context and examples that can be compared with one's own experience; critical assessment of psychoanalytic memory concepts with a clear distinction drawn between Freud's ideas and those of his later followers; childhood memories dealt with from dual standpoints of initial origin and adult retrospection; explanations of problems and dilemmas in philosophy and the human sciences that determine both what is to be counted as a memory experience and how memories can be validated; and the phenomena of individual memories compared with characteristics of group-determined memories and socially structured memories that persist across generations. Cognizant of the rich intellectual history of the field, the book also calls on the works of James, Titchener, Freud, Piaget, Baldwin, Janet, Bartlett, Ellis, Bergson, Bloch, Halbwachs, and Merleau-Ponty, among others, to broaden our current understanding of the experience of autobiographical memory. Students and researchers from a number of disciplines concerned with the psychology of memory, cognition, and identity will find this volume both insightful and thought-provoking.
Autobiographical Memory and the Validity of Retrospective Reports presents the collaborative efforts of cognitive psychologists and research methodologists in the area of autobiographical memory. The editors have included an esteemed group of researchers whose work covers a wide range of issues related to autobiographical memory and the validity of retrospective reports, reflecting the diverse traditions in cognitive psychology and survey research. The first part of the book provides different theoretical perspectives on retrospective reports, along with supporting experimental evidence. The second part of this volume focuses specifically on retrospective reports of behaviors, including recall of the frequency and intensity of physical pain, of the number of cigarettes smoked, of dietary habits, and of child support payments. The following sections address the cognitive processes involved in event dating and time estimation, and a discussion of the differences between self and proxy reports. The final part extends the discussion of autobiographical memories in different directions, including the impact of autobiographical memories on individuals' assessment of their current life, the assessment of social change on the basis of retrospective reports, and the issue of collective memories. This book, an indispensable and timely resource for researchers and students of cognitive psychology as well as to survey methodologists and statisticians, demonstrates the considerable progress made in understanding the cognitive dynamics of retrospective reports.
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Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012
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2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient
Kahneman's work with Amos Tversky is the subject of Michael Lewis's The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

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