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Reasons for withdrawing belief in vivid autobiographical memories

Scoboria, Alan; Boucher, Chantal; Mazzoni, Giuliana


Alan Scoboria

Chantal Boucher

Giuliana Mazzoni


Previous studies have shown that many people hold personal memories for events that they no longer believe occurred. This study examines the reasons that people provide for choosing to reduce autobiographical belief in vividly recollected autobiographical memories. A body of nonbelieved memories provided by 374 individuals was reviewed to develop a qualitatively derived categorization system. The final scheme consisted of 8 major categories (in descending order of mention): social feedback, event plausibility, alternative attributions, general memory beliefs, internal event features, consistency with external evidence, views of self/others, and personal motivation; and numerous sub-categories. Independent raters coded the reports and judged the primary reason that each person provided for withdrawing belief. The nature of each category, frequency of category endorsement, category overlap, and phenomenological ratings are presented, following which links to related literature and implications are discussed. This study documents that a wide variety of recollective and non-recollective sources of information influence decision-making about the occurrence of autobiographical events.


Scoboria, A., Boucher, C., & Mazzoni, G. (2015). Reasons for withdrawing belief in vivid autobiographical memories. Memory, 23(4), 545-562.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 26, 2014
Online Publication Date Apr 30, 2014
Publication Date May 19, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 28, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 28, 2015
Journal Memory
Print ISSN 0965-8211
Electronic ISSN 1464-0686
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 4
Pages 545-562
Keywords Autobiographical memory; Autobiographical belief; Non-believed memory; Decision making
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Memory on 30/04/2014, available online:


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