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The self-enhancement function of autobiographical memory


Demiray, Burcu; Janssen, Steve M J (2015). The self-enhancement function of autobiographical memory. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29(1):49-60.

Abstract

The self-enhancement function of autobiographical memory was examined by assessing the psychological distance of adults' most important memories. Participants (N = 445, ages 18–80) reported the seven most important events from their lives on an online survey and rated the memories in terms of valence, emotionality, importance, vividness, reliving, rehearsal, novelty, and psychological distance. Participants also completed the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale. Regression analyses showed that participants felt psychologically closer to positive memories than to negative memories, independent of the actual age of the memories. The self-enhancement function was unrelated to participants' age but was related to their self-esteem: Higher self-esteem was associated with feeling closer to positive memories. Finally, a moderated multiple-mediation model showed that memories' importance and rehearsal mediated the relation between one's self-esteem and the psychological distance of their positive versus negative memories. Findings are discussed in relation to the functional approach to autobiographical memory.

The self-enhancement function of autobiographical memory was examined by assessing the psychological distance of adults' most important memories. Participants (N = 445, ages 18–80) reported the seven most important events from their lives on an online survey and rated the memories in terms of valence, emotionality, importance, vividness, reliving, rehearsal, novelty, and psychological distance. Participants also completed the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale. Regression analyses showed that participants felt psychologically closer to positive memories than to negative memories, independent of the actual age of the memories. The self-enhancement function was unrelated to participants' age but was related to their self-esteem: Higher self-esteem was associated with feeling closer to positive memories. Finally, a moderated multiple-mediation model showed that memories' importance and rehearsal mediated the relation between one's self-esteem and the psychological distance of their positive versus negative memories. Findings are discussed in relation to the functional approach to autobiographical memory.

Citations

3 citations in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2015
Deposited On:13 Jan 2015 10:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:49
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0888-4080
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3074

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