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Does retrieval intentionality really matter? Similarities and differences between involuntary memories and directly and generatively retrieved voluntary memories

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DOI

  • Krystian Barzykowski, Applied Memory Research Laboratory, Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Polen
  • Søren Risløv Staugaard
Theories of autobiographical memory distinguish between involuntary and voluntary retrieval as a consequence of conscious intention (i.e., wanting to remember). Another distinction can be made between direct and generative retrieval, which reflects the effort involved (i.e., trying to remember). However, it is unclear how intention and effort interacts. For example, involuntary memories and directly retrieved memories have been used interchangeably in the literature to refer to the same phenomenon of effortless, nonstrategic
retrieval. More recent theoretical advances suggest that they are separate types
of retrieval, one unintentional (involuntary), another intentional and effortless (direct voluntary retrieval), and a third intentional and effortful (generative voluntary retrieval). Whether this also entails differing phenomenological characteristics, such as vividness, rehearsal, or emotional valence, has not been previously investigated. In the current study, participants reported memories in an experimental paradigm designed to elicit voluntary and involuntary memories and rated them on a number of characteristics. If intention affects the retrieval process, then we should expect differences between the characteristics of involuntary and directly retrieved memories. The results imply that retrieval intention seems to differentiate how a memory appears in a person’s mind. Furthermore, we argue that these differences in part could result from differences in encoding and consolidation.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftBritish Journal of Psychology
Vol/bind107
Nummer3
Sider (fra-til)519-536
Antal sider18
ISSN0007-1269
DOI
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2016

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