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How Are Autobiographical Memories Formed from Personal Experiences, and How Is This Information Retrieved?

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How are autobiographical memories formed from personal experiences, and how is this information retrieved?

`Memory` is a label for a diverse set of cognitive capacities by which humans and perhaps other animals retain information and reconstruct past experiences, usually for present purposes. Autobiographical memory is a complex and multiply determined skill, consisting of neurological, social, cognitive, and linguistic components. At most beasic level, autobiographical memories refer to personally experienced past events. Over the past decade the research into autobiographical memory has led to an account of human memory in which personal goals play a major role in the formationk, access and contruction of specific memories Episodic memory is reconceived as a memory system that retains highly detailed sensory perceptual knowledge of recent experience over retention intervals measured in minutes and hours. Episodic knowledge has yet to be integrated with the autobiographical memory knowledge base and so takes as its referent the immediate past of the experiencing self or the `I`. When recalled it can be accessed independently of content and is recollectively experienced. Autobiographical memory, in contrast, retains knowledge over retention intervals measured in weeks, months, years, decades and across the life span. Autobiographical knowledge represents the experienced self, or the `me`, is always accessed by its content and, when accessed, does not necessarily give rise to recollective experience. Instead, recollective experience occurs when autobiographical knowledge retains access to associated episodic memories.

Autobiographical memory in simplest terms can be described as memory for events and issues related to yourself and includes memories for specific experiences and for the personal facts of one`s life. Neisser , a psychologist who specialised in memory, defined autobiographical memory in the following way:Ð...If the remebered event seems to have played a significant part in the life of the rememberer, it becomes an example of autobiographical memory and may form part of s life narrative.Ð... The three major characteristics of autobiographical memory are: long term recollection of general features of an event, interpretations of an event, and some racall of a few specific details of an event. Autobiographical memory contains the information you have about yourself. There are three different types of autobiographical memory. They include:personal memory, autobiographical fact, and generic personal memory. Personal memory consists of an image based representations of a single unrepeated event. The next type is autobiographical fact. This is identical to personal memory except for the fact that the memory is not image based. The final type of autobiographical memory is generic personal memory. This is similar to personal memory but the event is repeated or a series of similar events occur and are represented in a more abstract form.

The psychologist William Brewer defines recollective episodic memory as a `reliving` of hte individual phenomenal experience from a specific moment in their past, accompanied by a belief that the remembered episode was personally experienced by the individual in their past . Significant psychological complexitiy is required, on such views, for genuine episodic remebering. The concept of `episodic memory was originally proposed by Tulving (1972) and later elaborated . We conceive of episodic memory as a system that contains experience-near, highly event specific, sensory-perceptual details of recent experiences-experiences that lasted for comparatively short periods of time (minutes and hours). These sensory-perceptual episodic memories do not endure in memory unless they become linked to more permanent autobiographical memory knowledge structures, where they induce recollective experience in autobiographical remembering. By this view acess to episodic memories rapidly degrades and most are lost within 24h of formation. Only those episodic memories that integrated at the time or consolidated later, possibly during the sleep period following formation, remain accessible and can enter into the subsequent formation of autobiographical memories. Episodic memories are represented in the brain regions most closely involved in the processing that took place during actual experinece. Because of this episodic memory sensory-perceptual details are represented in posterior regions of the brain and especially in networks sited in the occipital lobes, posterior parts of the temporal lobes. Thus, Episodic memory is a topographically separate memory system. Episodic memories represent knowledge of specific actions and action autcomes derived from moment-by-moment experience.

Tulving proposed that there is a distinction between episodic memory and semantic memory. Accordin to Tulving, as has allready been explained, episodic memory refers to the storage and retrieval of specific events

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