TALE OF THREE FUNCTIONS
events in order to understand what caused them. Such items reflect the need for the individual to have a reasonable current working model of how and why events occur and what they mean. That is, people may be able to use AM most effectively to direct present and future behavior if they periodically update and refine the meanings and causes for past events. This is consistent with Baddeley’s (1987) reasoning. He argued that the directive function of AM allows us to ask new questions of old information in order to solve problems in the present and to predict future events. We had expected that the Di- rective function that would emerge in the present study would largely concern the present problem–solving and future prediction aspects. The results suggest that the Directive function also involves making sense of the past so as to have the best “old information” available to use in directing one’s present and future.
Convergent validity and descriptive information provide further interpretative value. This Directive subscale of the TALE dovetails nicely with the empirically derived RFS Problem Solving and RFS Identity subscales. In early work, Webster (1995) found that Identity and Problem Solving were one factor. Only in a later version of the RFS (Webster, 1997) were these divided in two. The overlap of Iden- tity and Problem Solving is clear in their joint relation to the Directive factor found here. This only reinforces the notion presented above, that the Directive function does not simply include problem solving or making goals and plans. It seems also to include the use of auto- biographical reasoning (Habermas & Bluck, 2000) in order to update current views of one’s biographical self. Finally, the descriptive data suggest that individuals endorsed using the Directive function “sel- dom” to “occasionally,” on average. Thus, people are not constantly drawing on the past to guide the present and future, but they do use it to serve that function when needed. Alternatively, the Directive function is used more than occasionally, but this process (particu- larly the autobiographical reasoning aspect) goes on rather automatically and is thereby not well–represented in self-reports.
The Self Function. The Self factor that emerged from our analyses was a rather circumscribed one. It did not involve affect regulation, or more general meaning making, as has been suggested in the litera- ture—instead, it focused squarely on self–continuity. In some ways this is unsurprising. Self–continuity is probably the most commonly referred to self function in the theoretical literature (e.g., Brewer, 1986; Conway, 1996; Fivush, 1998; Neisser, 1988). The items repre-