Comparative Study

| Published: September 19, 2020

The role of autobiographical memories in self perception of middle-aged adults

Urmimala Ghose

M.Phil Trainee, Clinical Psychology Center of University of Calcutta, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India Google Scholar More about the auther

, Dr. Tilottama Mukherjee

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India Google Scholar More about the auther

DIP: 18.01.107/20200803

DOI: 10.25215/0803.107


Autobiographical memory and self are two intricately related psychological constructs, interacting through self-defining memory, relevant to one’s interests, motives, and goals. The present study aimed at investigating the differences between two types of autobiographical memories, self-defining (SDM) and non-self-defining (NSDM), in middle-aged adults (N=30), with respect to the phenomenological characteristics, contents, the age of the participants at encoding, and personal significance of the memories, and to explore the nature of relationship between autobiographical memories and self-perception. The participants, sampled through convenience method, were first screened with the help of General Health Questionnaire-28 and Beck Depression Inventory-II in both the sections. They were then requested to recall SDMs and NSDMs, three of each type, from any period of their lives, and to rate each of the memories on 10 phenomenological dimensions (in Memory Experiences Questionnaire-Short Form), personal significance, and perceived competencies in 12 domains of self as reflected in the memories, and mention their age at incident. They also completed the Self-Perception Profile for Adults, which provided their general perceived competencies in the same 12 domains. The contents of the memories were further coded following Manual for Coding Events in Self-Defining Memories. Statistical analyses revealed significant differences between the two types of memories on certain phenomenological characteristics, on the interrelationship among these characteristics, contents, participants’ age at incidents, personal significance, and participants’ self-perceptions reflected in the memories. The present study validates the existence of SDMs as a special class of autobiographical memories with distinctive features and unique relationship with self-perception.

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ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429



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Published in   Volume 08, Issue 3, July-September, 2020