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      Aging and autobiographical memory: dissociating episodic from semantic retrieval.

      Psychology and Aging

      Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, psychology, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Perception, Self Concept, Semantics

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          Abstract

          Cognitive aging research documents reduced access to contextually specific episodic details inolder adults, whereas access to semantic or other nonepisodic information is preserved or facilitated. The present study extended this finding to autobiographical memory by using a new measure; the Autobiographical Interview. Younger and older adults recalled events from 5 life periods. Protocols were scored according to a reliable system for categorizing episodic and nonepisodic information. Whereas younger adults were biased toward episodic details reflecting happenings, locations, perceptions, and thoughts, older adults favored semantic details not connected to a particular time and place. This pattern persisted after additional structured probing for contextual details. The Autobiographical Interview is a useful instrument for quantifying episodic and semantic contributions to personal remote memory.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Episodic memory: from mind to brain.

           Endel Tulving (2002)
          Episodic memory is a neurocognitive (brain/mind) system, uniquely different from other memory systems, that enables human beings to remember past experiences. The notion of episodic memory was first proposed some 30 years ago. At that time it was defined in terms of materials and tasks. It was subsequently refined and elaborated in terms of ideas such as self, subjective time, and autonoetic consciousness. This chapter provides a brief history of the concept of episodic memory, describes how it has changed (indeed greatly changed) since its inception, considers criticisms of it, and then discusses supporting evidence provided by (a) neuropsychological studies of patterns of memory impairment caused by brain damage, and (b) functional neuroimaging studies of patterns of brain activity of normal subjects engaged in various memory tasks. I also suggest that episodic memory is a true, even if as yet generally unappreciated, marvel of nature.
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            Toward a theory of episodic memory: the frontal lobes and autonoetic consciousness.

            Adult humans are capable of remembering prior events by mentally traveling back in time to re-experience those events. In this review, the authors discuss this and other related capabilities, considering evidence from such diverse sources as brain imaging, neuropsychological experiments, clinical observations, and developmental psychology. The evidence supports a preliminary theory of episodic remembering, which holds that the prefrontal cortex plays a critical, supervisory role in empowering healthy adults with autonoetic consciousness-the capacity to mentally represent and become aware of subjective experiences in the past, present, and future. When a rememberer mentally travels back in subjective time to re-experience his or her personal past, the result is an act of retrieval from episodic memory.
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              Evidence for a Life-Span Theory of Socioemotional Selectivity

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                12507363

                Chemistry

                Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, psychology, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Perception, Self Concept, Semantics

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