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date: 09 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The self—the abstract concept of the first person and its characteristics—and autobiographical memory—memory for discrete episodes in one’s own life—have long been thought to be linked. This chapter reviews evidence for the involvement of the self in the process of autobiographical memory construction, the development of autobiographical memory (the offset of childhood amnesia), the temporal distribution of autobiographical memories across the life span (the reminiscence bump), and disorders of memory (amnesia and hyperthymesia). Yet there is also evidence that the self and autobiographical memory are functionally independent. Mechanisms are discussed that allow the rememberer to mitigate the potential impact of threatening or self-discrepant memories on the self. As a result of these mechanisms, only particular “cherished” memories affect the abstract concept of the self.

Keywords: autobiographical memory, self, childhood amnesia, amnesia, hyperthymesia, reminiscence bump

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