The construction of autobiographical memories in the self-memory system

Psychol Rev. 2000 Apr;107(2):261-88. doi: 10.1037/0033-295x.107.2.261.


The authors describe a model of autobiographical memory in which memories are transitory mental constructions within a self-memory system (SMS). The SMS contains an autobiographical knowledge base and current goals of the working self. Within the SMS, control processes modulate access to the knowledge base by successively shaping cues used to activate autobiographical memory knowledge structures and, in this way, form specific memories. The relation of the knowledge base to active goals is reciprocal, and the knowledge base "grounds" the goals of the working self. It is shown how this model can be used to draw together a wide range of diverse data from cognitive, social, developmental, personality, clinical, and neuropsychological autobiographical memory research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cues
  • Emotions
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology