Remembering and imagining: the role of the self
Rathbone, C. J., Conway, M. A. and Moulin, C. J. A. (2011) Remembering and imagining: the role of the self. Consciousness and Cognition, 20 (4). pp. 1175-1182. ISSN 1053-8100
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2011.02.013
This study investigated whether temporal clustering of autobiographical memories (AMs) around periods of self-development ( [Rathbone et al., 2008] and [Rathbone et al., 2009]) would also occur when imagining future events associated with the self. Participants completed an AM task and future thinking task. In both tasks, memories and future events were cued using participant-generated identity statements (e.g., I am a student; I will be a mother). Participants then dated their memories and future events, and finally gave an age at which each identity statement was judged to emerge. Dates of memories and future events were recoded as temporal distance from the identity statement used to cue them. AMs and future events both clustered robustly around periods of self-development, indicating the powerful organisational effect of the self. We suggest that life narrative structures are used to organise future events as well as memories.