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Modifying the frequency and characteristics of involuntary autobiographical memories

Vannucci, Manila; Batool, Iram; Pelagatti, Claudia; Mazzoni, Giuliana


Manila Vannucci

Iram Batool

Claudia Pelagatti

Giuliana Mazzoni


Sharon Dekel


Recent studies have shown that involuntary autobiographical memories (IAMs) can be elicited in the laboratory. Here we assessed whether the specific instructions given to participants can change the nature of the IAMs reported, in terms of both their frequency and their characteristics. People were either made or not made aware that the aim of the study was to examine IAMs. They reported mental contents either whenever they became aware of them or following a predetermined schedule. Both making people aware of the aim of the study and following a fixed schedule of interruptions increased significantly the number of IAMs reported. When aware of the aim of the study, participants reported more specific memories that had been retrieved and rehearsed more often in the past. These findings demonstrate that the number and characteristics of memories depend on the procedure used. Explanations of these effects and their implications for research on IAMs are discussed.


Vannucci, M., Batool, I., Pelagatti, C., & Mazzoni, G. (2014). Modifying the frequency and characteristics of involuntary autobiographical memories. PLoS ONE, 9(4), e89582.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 21, 2014
Online Publication Date Apr 9, 2014
Publication Date Apr 9, 2014
Deposit Date Apr 21, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 21, 2015
Journal PLoS ONE
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 4
Article Number ARTN e89582
Pages e89582
Keywords Autobiographical memory
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: PLoS ONE, 2014, v.9, issue 4.


Published article (195 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright: © 2014 Vannucci et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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