As unbelievable as it sounds, ultra-Orthodox Jews committed the entire Babylonian Talmud—all 5,422 pages of it—to memory. Moreover, we address the relationship between importance and other factors known to affect prospective memory and ongoing task performance such as type of prospective memory task (time-, event-, or activity-based), cognitive loads, and processing overlaps. There seems to be quite some overlap between the way memory specificity and memory coherence are operationalized, especially between specificity and contextual coherence. Prospective memory performance was measured as the proportion of correct responses to prospective memory targets. Attach. This means that when PTSD patients are asked to recall the trauma they experienced, their memories of this event will be more fragmented and disorganized, as compared to non-related memories and healthy control groups. Autobiographical memory in suicide attempters. J. Genet. Throughout this paper, we will refer to Conway and Pleydell-Pearce’s Self-Memory System (Conway and Pleydell-Pearce, 2000) to illustrate the reciprocal and intricate relationship between autobiographical memory and the self. In the Self-Memory System of Conway and Pleydell-Pearce, the self is represented by three separate constructs that interact with each other: the working self, the conceptual self and the long-term self (see Conway and Pleydell-Pearce, 2000; Conway et al., 2004). The results showed that importance improved prospective memory performance, but caused higher monitoring costs. This lack of clarity about the definition and assessment of memory coherence makes it challenging to directly compare studies across research fields. The ongoing task was a word-categorization task and the prospective memory task was to press a particular key whenever a specific word (focal condition) or a word with the syllable “tor” appeared (non-focal condition). doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.107.2.261, Conway, M. A., Singer, J. Thus, promising a reward increased performance, changed the perceived importance and also the strategy to be successful in the prospective memory task (see Jeong and Cranney, 2009, for recent replications). Cognit. Perceptual memory representations and memory fragmentation as predictors of post-trauma symptoms. J. Abnorm. doi: 10.1080/13825580903281308. Second, an additional ongoing task can be added, thus requiring divided attention (e.g., Kliegel et al., 2001, 2004; Khan et al., 2008). Behav. J. Additionally, placing memory coherence within the Self-Memory System makes it possible to theorize about how the coherence of single experiences relates to the overall coherence of the life story. The ability to recall the location of things is an important aspect of human memory. (2008). This is, in our opinion, quite surprising since they both show highly similar associations to well-being and effective functioning of the self. Both overgeneral autobiographical memory and memory incoherence are related to the presence of depressive symptoms and PTSD. 24, 121–147. doi: 10.1080/02699939208411056, Cole, G., Tucker, L., and Friedman, G. M. (1990). Psychol. Respectively, whether automatic retrieval is the underlying mechanism may depend on whether motivation is intrinsic. I am both fascinated and terrified by the importance of a good memory. The nature of trauma memories in acute stress disorder in children and adolescents. Sleep plays an important role in the consolidation of memory. This theory predicts that when an intention is important increased prospective memory performance is due to a change in resource allocation policies and thus, to increased strategic monitoring. They threw a big party at their house. Aging Neuropsychol. However, to the best of our knowledge, there have been no studies examining the relationship between these two features of autobiographical memory. This result suggests that the relative importance of an intention affects performance in time-based prospective memory tasks. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.126.5.748, Habermas, T., and de Silveira, C. (2008). The basic pattern of remembering consists of attention to an event followed by … Rev. First, we will focus on the relationship between autobiographical memory and the self, after which we will give a brief overview of the literature on memory specificity and memory coherence and how they relate to the self. The development of autobiographical memory. To summarize, whether a particular importance manipulation affects resource allocation policies may depend on whether motivation is extrinsic. The results showed that only very few participants forgot to perform the “important” prospective memory task, independent of the retention interval manipulation. A developmental psychopathology model of overgeneral autobiographical memory. Hum. How do these two characteristics of autobiographical memory relate to each other, both theoretically and empirically? 20, 901–907. Not being able to imagine specific future happenings has been found to evoke feelings of hopelessness (Evans et al., 1992; Williams et al., 1996). If someone is unable to recall specific memories that are unique to the person and differentiate oneself from others, it is plausible to assume that this would be associated with a less profound and stable sense of self. It seems indeed reasonable to assume that if a person has only limited access to specific personal memories, this would strongly impede the construction of coherent narratives about these experiences. Furthermore, enhancing prospective memory performance due to an importance manipulation sometimes resulted in costs for the ongoing task (e.g., Loft and Yeo, 2007; Smith and Hunt, 2014), but in a few studies, there was no indication for costs (e.g., Brandimonte et al., 2010). This will provide more insight about how they might relate to each other and to the self, which can guide future research. Narratives reflect the way in which we make sense of the world and our experiences (Bruner, 1990; McAdams, 2001). Research on these two features developed rather independently throughout the past three decades. The cache is located in the path between the processor and memory. Future research should therefore examine how memory coherence relates to the presence of depressive versus anxiety-related symptoms by using specific instruments instead of broadband screening questionnaires that do not differentiate between different types of internalizing symptoms. Imagine that: self-imagination improves prospective memory in memory-impaired individuals with neurological damage. Psychol. “Remembering what to do: explicit and implicit memory for intentions,” in Prospective Memory: Theory and Applications, eds M. Brandimonte, G. O. Einstein, and M. A. McDaniel (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.), 53–91. The mechanisms underlying overgeneral autobiographical memory: an evaluative review of evidence for the CaR-FA-X model. This model states that personal memories can be considered coherent if three conditions are met; (1) the memory contains information about when and where the events took place, (2) the events are described in a logical and chronological order and (3) the memory consists of a highpoint and resolution, along with affective and evaluative information (Reese et al., 2011). Psychiatry 52, 560–570. Consciousness and intentions: a framework and some evidence. Results showed that younger adults generally outperformed older adults in the prospective memory task. doi: 10.1080/14616730701455445, Waters, T. E. A., Bohanek, J. G., Marin, K., and Fivush, R. (2013a). 167, 179–188. It has been theorized that three different mechanisms are responsible for the development of overgeneral autobiographical memory; rumination, functional avoidance and impaired executive capacities. In contrast, for participants in the control group forgetting was much more likely when an interesting activity was performed. 42, 613–626. 23, 183–192. The manuscript was written by EV after frequently brainstorming with DH, who also critically revised the article on multiple occasions. J. Psychol. Consult. 38, 860–867. Anxiety Stress Coping 16, 1–15. 10, 451–464. Brandimonte, M. A., and Ferrante, D. (2008). In so doing, Tulving and Craik adopt an overtly cognitive neuroscience—as distinct from a functionalist, ‘black box’ or purely cognitive—perspective on memory. Mem. Conscious. We know, for example, that data in the brain is stored in clusters of neurons but we don’t know how, precisely, it is stored or even how it is encoded. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2012.707214, Savine, A. C., Beck, S. M., Edwards, B. G., Chiew, K. S., and Braver, T. S. (2010). Next, we will discuss the results of the reviewed studies from the perspective of the PAM theory and the multiprocess model in order to underpin this assumption. Prospective memory: multiple retrieval processes. Both memory specificity and memory coherence are involved in these associations in similar manners. By describing exactly when and where the event took place, the individual creates a contextual coherent account of the experience. A strong correlation between memory specificity and contextual coherence could indicate that memory specificity can be seen as a component of memory coherence, placing specificity within a broader framework. There are, however, numerous other studies that do not seem to support this hypothesis (e.g., Berntsen et al., 2003; Waters et al., 2013a,b; or see Rubin et al., 2016b for a review). Psychology memory articles may be very interesting. 59, 2040–2046. (2003). In light of these considerations, we suggest that inducing importance by providing a social motive or by an absolute importance instruction (i.e., importance instructions without an explicit request to prioritize the prospective memory task) may operate by similar mechanisms as metacognitive strategies, that is, they enhance the prospective memory task-context associations to perform a prospective memory task without increasing strategic monitoring. *Correspondence: Elien Vanderveren,, Front. (2013). doi: 10.1037//1089-2680.5.2.100, McDonnell, C. G., Valentino, K., Comas, M., and Nuttall, A. K. (2016). Thus, the results of this study suggest that prospective memory performance can be improved by emphasizing the social importance of the task without increasing monitoring. Particularly, in their second experiment, the prospective memory targets were defined as words that contained either the letter g or q (i.e., a non-focal target) rather than as a specific word (i.e., a focal target, cf. Cogn. Neuropsychologia [Epub ahead of print], Kleim, B., and Ehlers, A. The importance of an intention is based on values, desires, goals, and their predicted consequences (cf. Altogether, we have identified important information lacunas which can guide future investigations on the effects of importance on prospective memory and on ongoing task performance in order to supply importance effects with a higher economic validity. The results showed that the former participants were more likely to return the letters on time. Are older adults more social than younger adults? Similar to memory specificity, memory coherence is related to well-being and effective functioning of the self in various ways. Psychol. This is particularly important when faced with negative or stressful experiences. If memory specificity would indeed be a part of the coherence construct, this could influence the content of the memory training. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2005.05.004, Raes, F., Williams, J. M. G., and Hermans, D. (2009). Bluck, S., and Habermas, T. (2000). 53, 594–628. Behav. Memory coherence is usually assessed by asking individuals to narrate about a personal experience (either orally or on paper), after which these narratives are coded for their coherence by an independent rater using one of the available coding schemes. This shows how memory specificity, memory coherence, and global life story coherence interact to form a stable sense of self. Not everything … Prospective memory refers to the ability to plan, retain and retrieve an intention as planned. The life cycle, mental health, and the sense of coherence. Finally, we suggest some new and exciting research possibilities and explain how both research fields could benefit from integration in future research. In Experiment 2, participants were instructed for an event-based task. Since the original observation by Williams and Broadbent (1986), different research labs started focusing on this surprising cognitive phenomenon by implementing the same emotional cueing design, which is now commonly referred to as the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT). The study provides evidence that visual working memory and perception interact with each other, and this may be because the same brain machinery is co … doi: 10.1037/0096-3445.134.3.327, Gollwitzer, P. M. (1999). Last but not least, we would like to get back to the question raised in the title of this article. Psychiatry 39, 3–27. In accordance with this hypothesis, numerous studies report more incoherence (in the form of fragmentation and disorganization) in trauma memories of individuals with PTSD compared to healthy controls (e.g., Foa et al., 1995; Harvey and Bryant, 1999; Halligan et al., 2003; Jones et al., 2007; Kenardy et al., 2007; Jelinek et al., 2009, 2010; Salmond et al., 2011; or see Brewin, 2014 for a review). We will also point to some remaining questions and limitations within both research fields. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2012.705300, Welch-Ross, M. K., Fasig, L., and Farrar, M. J. Additionally, overgeneral autobiographical memory is able to predict PTSD diagnosis following a traumatic experience (Kleim and Ehlers, 2008). So, by transferring knowledge about the dynamics between memory specificity and psychopathology, we could potentially resolve certain inconsistencies regarding the relationship between memory coherence and psychopathology. Finally, event-specific knowledge refers to perceptual and sensory-rich information about single personal experiences (e.g., my thesis defense). The effect of implementation intentions on prospective memory performance across the lifespan. Reduced goal specificity is associated with reduced memory specificity in depressed adults. Br. Cognitive vulnerability in patients with bipolar disorder. Aging Neuropsychol. Difficulty recalling specific memories therefore hinders problem solving. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200008000-00017, von Klitzing, K., Stadelmann, S., and Perren, S. (2007). In a second section, we will discuss the different results from the perspective of two theoretical frameworks of prospective memory research, preparatory attentional and memory processes theory (PAM; Smith, 2003) and the multiprocess model (McDaniel and Einstein, 2000), in order to clarify the underlying mechanisms of importance effects. These criteria show that memory coherence goes beyond the mere structural aspects of autobiographical memories to include a qualification of the emotional representation of the events. Cogn. Int. (2011). (2001). Raes, F., Hermans, D., Williams, J. M. G., Demyttenaere, K., Sabbe, B., Pieters, G., et al. This example illustrates that even a very important intention, that is, remember to book the church for the own wedding can fail. More research seems necessary to examine what the AMT exactly measures and how this can best be fitted within the Self-Memory System of Conway and Pleydell-Pearce. Nevertheless, it happens that somebody forgets an intention although it is really important. First of all, autobiographical memories provide a sense of continuity through time for the individual; the idea that one is the same person now as in the past and will be in the future. Photographic Memory: The Importance of Preserving Community History Photographic Memory: The Importance of Preserving Community History. Additionally, research has shown that overgeneral autobiographical memory is not a general characteristic of psychopathology. (1983) have the advantage of high ecological validity. In contrast, elaborative reminiscing predicts less memory specificity in anxious or avoidant attached children (McDonnell et al., 2016). Responsible behavior: the importance of social cognition and emotion. In this paper, we take a closer look at two particular features of autobiographical memories and how they both relate to the self: memory specificity and memory coherence. Age and emotional experience during mutual reminiscing. Research has consistently demonstrated the intricate relationship between autobiographical memory and the self. doi: 10.1037/xge0000143, Belcher, J., and Kangas, M. (2014). Research on these two features developed throughout the past few decades as two largely independent research domains, with a more cognitive and psychopathological approach to the study of memory specificity and a more developmental approach to memory coherence. The prospective memory task was to write the word customer beside of a target word when it occurred during the association task. Fourth and final, by constructing memories about negative or stressful experiences and integrating these memories within a broader framework, autobiographical memory facilitates the process of coping with and resolving negative emotions (Fivush, 2011). Moreover, there are two studies in which monitoring costs were measured (Brandimonte et al., 2010; Kliegel et al., 2010), but no monitoring costs occurred. 12, 424–462. Acts of Meaning. The cost of remembering to remember in event-based prospective memory: investigating the capacity demands of delayed intention performance. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Ther. This phenomenon is referred to as Overgeneral Autobiographical Memory or OGM. Rehabil. Different mechanisms can interrupt this search, whether or not in interaction with each other, and lead to overgeneral memory. Consistently, monitoring costs were also increased in the latter condition. Thus, whether an intention is important or not is based on subjective valuing. Likewise, little is known about possible underlying mechanisms that can explain this relationship. There is, for example, little information about the nature and the direction of the relationship between memory coherence and psychopathology, since most studies are cross-sectional in nature. Figure 1. Cogn. However, studies directly examining the influence of memory specificity on identity development are rather scarce. Int. These categories are ordered in a hierarchy going from general to specific personal information. Memory coherence facilitates emotional problem solving through the process of meaning making. Additionally, the ability to create a coherent narrative about the current situation makes it easier to work through the emotions evoked by the situation (Pennebaker, 1997; Fivush and Baker-Ward, 2005; Fivush et al., 2008). Brandimonte, M. A., Ferrante, D., Bianco, C., and Villani, M. G. (2010). Different processes can influence this search and contribute to the development of overgeneral memory (Williams et al., 2007). Sci. On the representation of intentions: do personally relevant consequences determine activation? The self mediates the formation of autobiographical memories and controls their accessibility. Research on memory coherence has clearly demonstrated its importance for well-being and effective functioning of the self throughout the years. Strategic and automatic processes in prospective memory retrieval: a multiprocess framework. We also take into account the role of the specific kind of prospective memory task, effects of cognitive loads and processing overlaps that may interact with task importance. Social and emotional functions of mother-child reminiscing about stressful events. 118, 288–298. In contrast, according to the multiprocess model, there are two different routes toward remembering a prospective memory task (see McDaniel and Einstein, 2000; Einstein et al., 2005). An individual’s personal life story consists of different layers of autobiographical memories that are represented in the autobiographical knowledge base and the episodic memory system: life story schema, lifetime periods, general events, and event-specific knowledge. Psychon. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.121208.131702, Fivush, R., and Baker-Ward, L. (2005). When individuals experience negative emotions or events, they have to regulate and resolve them in order to move on. 38, 401–405. So, we hypothesize that both memory specificity and memory coherence can be situated at the same hierarchical level in the Self-Memory System. Einstein, G. O., and McDaniel, M. A. Style and structure in mother child conversations about the past. For example, it is unclear whether memory incoherence is a vulnerability factor for the development of internalizing symptoms or a mere consequence or by-product of those symptoms. “A motivational-cognitive model of prospective memory: the influence of goal relevance,” in Psychology of Motivation, ed F. Columbus (Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.), 115–128. Cogn. Research on memory specificity and memory coherence has developed as two largely independent research domains over the past three decades. Learn. Furthermore, the opportunity to measure monitoring costs enabled them to investigate the resource demands of prospective memory, that is, whether successful retrieval needs attention allocation (i.e., enhancing monitoring costs; cf. Being able to recall specific personal memories contributes to aspects of psychological well-being and effective functioning of the self, as demonstrated earlier. Stadelmann (2006, Unpublished), for example, found no relation between a lack of memory coherence and the presence of internalizing symptoms. (2004). “Varieties of intention: some distinctions and classifications,” in Prospective Memory: Theory and Applications, eds M. Brandimonte, G. O. Einstein, and M. A. McDaniel (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers), 23–51. Autobiographical memory in obsessive compulsive disorder. The prospective memory task was to press a key whenever one of eight specific target words occurred, embedded in a lexical decision task (i.e., a cognitive “loaded” prospective memory task). Functions of parent-child reminiscing about emotionally negative events. Autobiographical memory decline in Alzheimer’s disease, a theoretical and clinical overview. Memory specificity supports effective functioning of the self by guiding current and future behavior. Bear, G. G., Manning, M. A., and Carroll, E. I. doi: 10.1080/741938209, Fivush, R., and Fromhoff, F. (1988). (1996). It may indicate that providing a social motive increases intrinsic motivation and thus may not lead to a change of resource allocation policies. doi: 10.1207/S15327647JCD0301_5, Foa, E. B., Molnar, C., and Cashman, L. (1995). Crucial differences between studies could possibly contribute to these inconsistent findings. Appl. Null’s the word: a comparison of memory quality for intensely negative and positive events. 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