The Self and Memory

The Self and Memory

The Self and Memory

The Self and Memory

Synopsis

Noted scholars from a broad range of sub-disciplines in psychology discuss the ways in which the memories of our lives come to influence who we are, our personalities, and our emotional functioning. Other topics covered include how our personalities and self-concepts influence what we remember from our lives, and the notion of memory and the self as interdependent psychological phenomena.

Excerpt

The present volume was inspired by the three coeditors' independent explorations of the expanding literature on autobiographical memory. One of us is trained as a social psychologist with expertise in the self-concept, another as a cognitive psychologist with expertise in the phenomenology of false memories, and another as a developmental psychologist with expertise in language and cognition. Despite our different backgrounds, the critical role of the self in autobiographical memory became apparent to each of us, as it has to other autobiographical memory researchers. Indeed, serious study of the interrelation of the self and memory is currently at its apex. A breakthrough occurred in 2000 with the publication of Conway and Pleydell-Pearce's article on the self-memory system in Psychological Review. This truly seminal article brought together research from clinical, cognitive, developmental, personality, and social psychology, as well as neuroscience. Virtually every psychologist can find research from his or her sub-field cited in this article, brought together cogently with research from other subfields into a broad theory of personal memory and the self. Suddenly, a common language was available for researchers from disparate areas to communicate and compare findings. To celebrate and to encourage the exploration of the self and memory, we hosted a symposium at the University of Arkansas in November 2000, inviting the major theorists who are working at the juncture of these two once-separate areas of endeavor. The quest to discover how the self and memory influence one another can be an exercise in trying to pin down elusive concepts, as an analysis of the history of the self and personal memory in psychology attests.

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