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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Autobiographical reasoning relies on the life story format for linking distant parts of life with each other and with personal development. Taking the lead from Ricoeur’s concept of narrative identity, the argument is developed that the emergence of the life story and the ability for autobiographical reasoning in adolescence adds a powerful tool for identity exploration and stabilization. Autobiographical reasoning especially helps explicitly bridge biographical disruptions by spelling out transformations and their motives. Weaker attempts to explain personal sameness in time or personal stability are reviewed and argued to be more limited than autobiographical reasoning in their ability to bridge personal change. Furthermore, the role of narrative as point of reference for autobiographical reasoning is highlighted, linking our concept to that of narrative identity as originally conceived. Finally, contextual and stylistic features of autobiographical reasoning are specified that render it beneficial for self-continuity and well-being.

Keywords: self-continuity, autobiographical reasoning, life story, well-being, identity claims, biographical ruptures, life transitions, life narratives, autobiographical arguments, psychosocial identity

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