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Factors Shaping Autobiographical Memory: An Insightful Analysis

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Introduction- The Development and Dependencies of Autobiographical Memory

Autobiographical memory is really a unique individual concept that combines recollections of previous experiences with a larger personal history. Autobiographical memory is a structure that develops through a period in teenage years and also is dependent mostly on the formation of an experience of experiential self. This collection of experiences can be impeded by several obstacles and conditions faced by an individual (Wu and Jobson, 2019). These factors help us to understand the psychological structure of an individual as the poor recollection of past memories is not a well-known issue in the general society. It becomes highly complex for a person to acquaint himself with his past being and resulting in low confidence and confusion (Wang et al., 2015). The factors that we are going to cover in this report include the intensity of emotion during the specific period of formation of memory, memory disorders, and age of the individual. The report aims to analyze these factors and their implication for autobiographical memory in individuals so as to concisely recommend therapies and means to resolve poor autobiographical memory of individuals (Schneider and Ornstein, 2015). These arguments will be supported by evidence to facilitate the credibility and reliability of the report.

Being present in the moment counts for the formation of a powerful neural network in our minds. Someone’s presence can be measured by his emotions reflected in that situation. Autobiographical memory is formed in the memory system known as the Self Memory System which comprises the autobiographical knowledge base and its working self. Being focused on emotion, helps the child to create an autobiographical memory (Wang et al., 2015). 

Feedback from Teachers, especially those feedback that touches the heart of the kid is remembered forever. The factor here is connectedness or sensitivity to an element. For instance, if a person is culturally sensitive and the tutor gives him feedback including ethical considerations, it might stay with the kid for a longer period. If a kid is ambitious and the teacher lauds him by saying that, “sky is the limit”, these phrases and moments remain forever in the memory of the person. The element that weighs heavy and is at the core of a person's heart and mind, when triggered or touched, creates a lasting memory (Schneider and Ornstein, 2015). Intense emotions, hence prompt a person to recollect a memory easily. A positive mood helps to remember incidents and details more effectively than a negative mood does. When we are positive, our body functions effectively and our senses work impressively well to send information to the nervous system which is then stored in different places of the brain (Schneider and Ornstein, 2015).

One of the most optimum solutions in managing emotions and creating a positive environment is to keep students away from stress. Not fighting in front of kids and using good vocabulary whenever kids are around, encouraging them to learn new things and skills, and appreciating them for trying are some small things that can have a greater impact on their mental health and help them recall memories (Hamlat et al., 2015).

We can take a kid for this example who is always motivated and remains happy most of the time. When this kid tells a story or an incident, he makes sure he covers all the vital incidents from the background to the action taking place with reactions. When the same incident is described by a child in a bad mood, he misses all the important details and sometimes doesn’t even recall the incident. It is because our body has a communicative neural system that communicates with every cell and part of the body (Hamlat et al., 2015). When we feel negative, there is a limitation in the ideal flow of information in our bodies that restricts a memory to be formed and strengthened in our brain. A kid who faces lots of challenges at an early age is rarely positive and misses out on details and knowledge being taught in the class.

Another factor that impedes the formation of autobiographical memory is mental disorders such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It does not mean that the child does not recall the situation of the incident that caused the trauma but after that incident, he fails to observe his surroundings and attend to other situations and events of his life. Traumatic experience embeds fear and anxiety in the individual (Fivush, 2019). For example, a kid who has witnessed the death of his mother might never overcome that phase and that incident. This will restrict him to create memories of other incidents and recall his autobiography. Another example of a mental disorder, Childhood amnesia is defined as a lack of recall of incidents that unfolded throughout infancy, rather than a complete lack of remembrance of incidents that occurred through adolescence. Protracted maturation of the hippocampus causes the child to forget regular episodes (Wu and Jobson, 2019).

Child Amnesia can get cured by itself but if there is an underlying cause of childhood Amnesia, diagnosis is required to carry with the treatment (Fivush, 2019). Child Therapies are useful to treat children and help them overcome their disorder by therapeutic sessions at regular intervals. It has been observed in various sessions that children were willing to open up and observe their environment. After some sessions, children expressed their feelings using stories which implies that they are willing to learn, observe and form memories. It happens mostly when children are not able to express themselves and therapies help them to take out their fear, thoughts, doubts because they know someone is there to listen to them. At other times, these students take time to open up which is again natural.

 Adults, as well as education-aged children, keep track of events that occurred throughout their elementary grades. The proposed sequential study looked at how the cohesiveness of interview transcripts of personalized experiences by 4-,6-, and 8-year-old youngsters affected memory retention 365 days ago. According to the expanding research on children's long-term version of what happened, there really are a variety of reasons why a job experience may persist in memory formation beyond infancy. Achievements made by the kid when he or she grows older, such as linguistic competency as well as the beginnings of experiential recollection (McDonnell et al., 2016). Furthermore, cohesiveness could have been a critical factor in determining which recollections are recalled or recalled from either the moment that is subsequently blurred by infancy forgetfulness. Recollections of subjectively experienced experiences that are just not arranged as consistent sequences are less ready to be implemented into an evolving life story and thus less likely to be remembered early in adulthood compared to individualized remembering that seems to be descriptively organized.' However, it's possible as consistency facilitates the interaction of sentimentality, personal relevance, reinstating, and many other elements that produce a somewhat more formal specification of experiences within remembering, increasing the probability that numerous recollections would outlast time. As a result, congruence potentially serves as an ideological foundation for figuring out how numerous circumstances influence the long-term viability of nostalgic memories (Schneider and Ornstein, 2015). A study that is widely cited(e.g. see Peterson & Biggs, 1998) As little more than a challenge against the significance of cohesiveness in child's postponed recall, researchers looked at the memories of 11-and 12-year-old adolescents of a disaster had transpired 7 years earlier at their preschooler. None of the early childhood (who had been 312 months old at the time of something like the incident) were capable of providing a narrative description of the interaction and did not sufficiently answer pressured problems.

Storytelling activities or curating playful activities where children are told to remember incidents or tell these incidents in the class (Grisman et al., 2016). These activities can include activities like writing essays or journals. Writing journals is not enjoyed by many of the students at a young age so storytelling can be used. It is true that if the person is facing a challenge to remember incidents, he might not come up on stage or in front of his classmates and tell any story (McDonnell et al., 2016). For this reason, one-to-one communication can help and their stories must be appreciated so they gain confidence. It has been observed in studies that storytelling has an impact on the memory recollection of children (Vanderveren, Bijttebier, and Hermans, 2017).

In the above report, it is discussed how different factors affect or impede the formation of autobiographical memory and its recollection. Mental disorders can affect recollection by inculcating fear, anxiety, or a feeling that affects neural communication with other body parts. It is quite clear that a focused person can recollect memories and children who have a positive environment are able to recollect memories quite easily. The cohesiveness of memory recollection is also a significant factor wherein the child cannot put together pieces to recollect an incident. Therapies and playful activities can motivate children to solve this problem, steadily and holistically.


Fivush, R., 2019. Family narratives and the development of an autobiographical self: Social and cultural perspectives on autobiographical memory. Routledge.

Fivush, R., 2019. Sociocultural developmental approaches to autobiographical memory. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33(4), pp.489-497.

Grisman, A., Fivush, R., Merrill, N.A. and Graci, M., 2016. The influence of gender and gender typicality on autobiographical memory across event types and age groups. Memory & cognition, 44(6), pp.856-868.

Hamlat, E.J., Connolly, S.L., Hamilton, J.L., Stange, J.P., Abramson, L.Y. and Alloy, L.B., 2015. Rumination and overgeneral autobiographical memory in adolescents: An integration of cognitive vulnerabilities to depression. Journal of youth and adolescence, 44(4), pp.806-818.

McDonnell, C.G., Valentino, K., Comas, M. and Nuttall, A.K., 2016. Mother-child reminiscing at risk: Maternal attachment, elaboration, and child autobiographical memory specificity. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 143, pp.65-84.

Schneider, W. and Ornstein, P.A., 2015. The development of children's memory. Child Development Perspectives, 9(3), pp.190-195.

Vanderveren, E., Bijttebier, P. and Hermans, D., 2017. The importance of memory specificity and memory coherence for the self: Linking two characteristics of autobiographical memory. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, p.2250.

Wang, Q., Koh, J.B.K., Song, Q. and Hou, Y., 2015. Knowledge of memory functions in European and Asian American adults and children: The relation to autobiographical memory. Memory, 23(1), pp.25-38.

Wu, Y. and Jobson, L., 2019. Maternal reminiscing and child autobiographical memory elaboration: A meta-analytic review. Developmental psychology, 55(12), p.2505.

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