Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

There is more to life stories than memories

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Department of Psychology
Current theories focus on the role of specific memories in organising the life story. However, temporally extended structures of autobiographical memory, like lifetime periods and mini-narratives (here termed chapters), may also play a central role in the organisation of the life story. Here, 30 elderly participants were asked to tell their life story in a free format. The life stories were divided into components and coded as chapters, specific memories, categoric memories, facts, chapters about other people, and autobiographical reasoning categories, i.e., reflections, evaluations, life lessons, and inferences about personality. The results show that chapters were much more common than specific memories in the life stories, indicating that chapters may play a role in the structuring of life stories. The number of chapters and specific memories in the life stories were unrelated, suggesting that the recounting of chapters versus specific memories does not reflect a preferred recall style.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMemory
Volume17
Issue4
Pages (from-to)445-57
Number of pages12
ISSN0965-8211
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Research areas

  • Aged, Autobiography, Female, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Life Change Events, Male, Memory, Self Concept, Statistics as Topic, Time Factors

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