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Rewriting the past: some factors affecting the variability of personal memories

Anderson, Stephen J.; Cohen, Gillian and Taylor, Stephanie (2000). Rewriting the past: some factors affecting the variability of personal memories. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 14(5) pp. 435–454.

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Three experiments assessed the variability of autobiographic memories and investigated the effects of age of the person, the age of the memory and memory characteristics. Using different paradigms to examine repeated recall of the same memories all three experiments showed that the memories of the older adults were more stable in terms of the content. The memories of the younger group showed greater variability across successive recalls. Experiment 3 also showed that the order in which older people recalled memory details was relatively consistent: younger adults showed greater variability in output order. Variability was also significantly affected by the age of the memory with older memories being less variable. No significant effects of memory characteristics (importance, emotion and frequency of rehearsal) were detected. Several explanations for these findings were considered. It was concluded that the personal memories of older people tend to be reproduced from a fixed precompiled representation whereas young people's memories are dynamically reconstructed on each occasion of recall.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISSN: 1099-0720
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetDepartment of Psychology, University of Bristol
Academic Unit/Department: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 25145
Depositing User: Stephanie Taylor
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2011 15:16
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 10:51
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