Autobiographical Memory: Remembering What and Remembering When

Autobiographical Memory: Remembering What and Remembering When

Autobiographical Memory: Remembering What and Remembering When

Autobiographical Memory: Remembering What and Remembering When

Synopsis

Providing an unusual perspective on self and social memory different from the norm in social cognitive research, this volume describes the results of the authors' diary research now in progress for more than 15 years. It investigates the topic of autobiographical memory through longitudinal studies of graduate students' diaries. Recalled and examined in this volume, a recent collection of several long-term diaries -- spanning up to two-and-one-half years in length -- replicated and significantly extended the authors' earlier knowledge of autobiographical memory. These studies are analyzed for commonalities and differences within the entire body of their data. Organized by the major themes suggested by the authors' theoretical views, this volume will be significant to students and researchers of both memory in general, and personal or episodic memory in particular.

Excerpt

In this book, we describe the results of our diary research, in progress for more than 15 years. Modern diary research began with an innovative study by Marigold Linton (1975) in which she recorded and tested events from her life over a 6-year period. Motivated by her efforts, our research began with a small pilot study conducted at Kansas State University by Charles (Chuck) Thompson in the fall of 1979. the pilot results were encouraging, so he began this research program with the intent of collecting event records from students for a few semesters (obviously, things got out of hand).

John Skowronski came on the scene out of desperation. He was a new PhD looking for a job, and Kansas State University was kind enough to give him a visiting position in the academic year of 1985-1986. While at Kansas State he chatted with Chuck about the diary research; the social-psychological aspect of the diaries piqued his curiosity. He thought that the diaries might ultimately provide a perspective on self and social memory that was different from the norm in social cognitive research, so he encouraged Chuck to show him how to collect diary data. the two of them collected some data that year and thus began a productive partnership in diary research.

John took a job at the Ohio State University at Newark starting in the fall of 1986. He soon forged strong ties with the faculty at the Columbus campus and managed to engage the interest of several social psychology graduate students. One of those students was Andrew (Drew) Betz. John dangled some data from the diaries (comparing self-event memory to memory for events from others' lives) in front of Drew, and with the promise of publication (perhaps exaggerated a tad, John admits), Drew rose to it like a hungry trout. Drew had a fair amount of methodological expertise, and . . .

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