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The Dynamics of Autobiographical Memory

Using the LIM | Life-line Interview Method

von Marian Assink, Johannes J. F. Schroots


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Does autobiographical memory change through the lifespan? Which events do we remember and why? Do the memories that are important differ between men and women, between younger and older people? These are just some of the fundamental questions examined in this state-of-the art book about the course of autobiographical memory throughout life - a topic that is of increasing importance as people are living ever longer.

Based upon a 5-year longitudinal research study using the LIM | Life-line Interview Method, in which young, middle-aged, and older men and women were interviewed three times, this book provides a completely new perspective on the dynamics of both retrospective and prospective memory. What is recalled, how it is evaluated, and the relationships between gender, age, and memory over the course of life are reported, as is the “bump effect” demonstrated using the LIM, with older adults recalling a disproportionate number of events from adolescence and early adulthood, thus contradicting classical views of life-long memory.

This volume also presents the first authorized version of the Schroots’ LIM | Life-line Interview Method, which asks people to draw their life-line and tell their own life-story for both past and future. Results obtained using the LIM should be interpreted, qualitatively and quantitatively, in the light of the longitudinal data presented here.

Dynamics of Autobiographical Memory is a "must" for faculty, graduate students, and professionals engaged in the study of development and aging, and in the construction and interpretation of individual life histories and expectations for the future.

From the Reviews

"Offer[s] valuable insights into people's lived experiences through the use of longitudinal studies. [...] The LIM life-line method, which is presented as a manaul in the appendix, is a semi-structured interview that asks people to draw their life-line and tell their life-story for both their past and their anticipated future. [This book] provides fascinating insights into how people's life stories both remain stable and change over time. [...] Students and researchers alike will find the overview of the current debates in the field of autobiographical memory valuable and all researchers will find the final categorisation of the findings into principles, hypotheses and trends invaluable indicators for future research."
Verina Waights, The Open University, UK, in Journal of Ageing & Society, Vol. 31, 2011

"Whether one’s interest lies in clinical or research explorations of human behavior, that is, content or structure of memory, Assink and Schroots’s book The Dynamics of Autobiographical Memory: Using the LIM—Life-line Interview Method, as well as the life interview method it describes, can be of great interest.
The life-line interview method (LIM) is an approach used to collect autobiographical memory of adults across the life span. The book reviews the findings of a longitudinal study of adults who were administered the LIM at three points in time during a five-year period. Mostly the purpose of this book is to introduce the LIM as a viable and useful approach in the study of autobiographical memory. [...]
The book is presented as a research manual, with convincing arguments and supporting evidence for its validity and standardization.[...]
The book fulfills its promise to explain the dynamics of autobiographical memory [...] This book will appeal to researchers who are interested in autobiographical memories, life-span development, and events of people’s lives. Clinical psychologists may also find value in this narrative method as a therapeutic tool in exploring their clients’ memories."

Francine Conway in PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 55, No. 44, 2010

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