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The organization and structure of autobiographical memory$
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John Mace

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784845

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198784845.001.0001

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Form Follows Function

Form Follows Function

Autobiographical Memory in Ecological Context

(p.93) 6 Form Follows Function
The organization and structure of autobiographical memory

Susan Bluck

Nicole Alea

Emily L. Mroz

Oxford University Press

From an ecological perspective, understanding the form, the structure, of autobiographical memory requires examining the functions it serves in human life. The chapter begins with a review of the distant and then the more recent history of the functional perspective on autobiographical memory. That done, the bulk of the chapter addresses current controversies that arise when taking a functional approach. These include: (1) defining basic functions versus reasons for, or uses of, remembering, (2) considering whether there is one fundamental function, and, in contrast, (3) identifying possible candidates above and beyond the three broad functions commonly seen in the literature (i.e., self, social, directive). The functional approach to autobiographical memory continues to provide an important alternative, or complement, to mechanistic views of human remembering.

Keywords:   function, autobiographical memory, self, reminiscence, social-bonding, life story, narrative, social ecology

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