Scenes enable a sense of reliving: Implications for autobiographical memory.

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Autobiographical memory has been defined by the phenomenological properties of reliving, vividness, and belief that an event occurred. Neuropsychological damage that results in the inability to recall the layout of a scene also results in amnesia suggesting a possible milder effect in people without such neurological damage. Based on this and other observations, we hypothesized that the degree to which the layout of a scene is recalled will correlate positively with ratings of reliving, vividness, and belief, and will explain more variance in multiple regressions than recalling the scene's contents. We also hypothesized that a lack of layout underlies nonspecific autobiographical memories which are common in aging, future events, and clinical disorders, whereas currently such memories are most commonly measured by reports of extended duration. We tested these theory-driven novel hypotheses in three studies to replicate our results. In each study, approximately 200 participants rated the layout, content, and other properties of personal events. Correlational analyses in each study and a structural equation model for the combined studies provide strong support for the role of mental scene construction in an integrative neurocognitive approach to clarify cognitive theory and clinical phenomena.





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Rubin, David C, Samantha A Deffler and Sharda Umanath (2019). Scenes enable a sense of reliving: Implications for autobiographical memory. Cognition, 183. pp. 44–56. 10.1016/j.cognition.2018.10.024 Retrieved from

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