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Autobiographical Across the Lifespan     3     

Autobiographical Memory Across the Lifespan

Everyone has a favorite memory. Some people share this favorite memory and others keep it to themselves. This memory may be about a first kiss or about a wedding kiss. Whatever the personal memory may be, it is something that most people think they will hold on to for a lifetime. However, others may fear that as they age they will start to forget some of their most treasured experiences. The question becomes what type of effect growing older has on autobiographical memory.

This paper will attempt to define autobiographical memory by describing its different components. Additionally, the effects of aging on those components of autobiographical memory will be explored. Finally, the social relevance of autobiographical memory will be explained and further implications of research on autobiographical researched will be discussed.

What is Autobiographical Memory?

Before the effects of aging can be examined, it is important to first understand what autobiographical memory is. Schroots, Van Dijkum, and Assink (2004) broadly define autobiographical memory using two different components. Autobiographical memory is described as a type of episodic memory that contains both prospective and retrospective information about one’s self.

Prospective information is the ability to know that one has to do something in the future and remember to do so without having to be prompted by specific instructions. An easy way to think about prospective memory is that it is the ability to remember to remember (Schroots et al., 2004). Because this author wants to focus on what effects

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