Involuntary autobiographical memories: an introduction to by Dorthe Berntsen

By Dorthe Berntsen

We frequently keep in mind own stories with none awake attempt. a bit of song heard at the radio may perhaps stir a reminiscence of a second from the previous. Such occurrences are referred to as involuntary autobiographical thoughts. they generally ensue in line with environmental stimuli or features of present concept. till lately, they have been taken care of nearly solely as a medical phenomenon, as an indication of misery or a mark of trauma. during this leading edge new paintings, in spite of the fact that, Dorthe Berntsen argues that involuntary stories are predominantly confident and much extra universal than formerly believed. She argues that they replicate a easy mode of remembering that predates the extra complicated strategic retrieval mode, and that their fundamental functionality could easily be to avoid us from dwelling within the current. Reviewing quite a few cognitive, medical, and aesthetic techniques, this monograph should be of monstrous curiosity to a person trying to higher comprehend this misunderstood phenomenon.

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Extra info for Involuntary autobiographical memories: an introduction to the unbidden past

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This connection was made by Horowitz (1969a), who argued that a traumatic experience would remain in “some special form of memory storage” (p. 552) until it was integrated and mastered. This special memory storage was labelled active memory 30 i n v o l u n t a r y a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l m e m o r i e s storage, because it had an inherent tendency to automatically bring its own content to consciousness. The active memory storage in Horowitz’s theory dealt with conscious involuntary memories (including dreams) of the traumatic event and enabled such memories to repeat themselves in consciousness.

Also, although very few brain imaging studies have been conducted on involuntary episodic memories, the evidence so far supports the view that involuntary memories are associated with activity in the hippocampus and surrounding areas and to a lesser extent involves activity in the prefrontal areas when contrasted with strategically retrieved memories (Hall, 2007; Hall, Gjedde, and Kupers, 2008). Following these observations, involuntary autobiographical memories are assumed to be evolutionarily older than voluntary autobiographical memories.

Involuntary symbolic memories Spence (1988) takes a classical psychoanalytic approach in an account of involuntary autobiographical memories in which they are described as disguised symbolic references to underlying fantasies and wishes. According to his observations, involuntary autobiographical memories often arise with no identifiable cues, and they usually come to mind when the person is in a passive state of awareness, such as falling asleep, for which reason he labels them passive remembering.

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