The relation of the conceptual self to recent and distant autobiographical memories.Memory. 2011 Nov; 19(8):975-92.M
Based on the self-memory system model (SMS; Conway, Singer, & Tagini, 2004) of autobiographical memory, this study uses a large sample of young and middle-aged adults to investigate the relation between individuals' current self-characteristics and the content of both their earliest childhood memory and a recent memory. In the first session, participants' current self-characteristics were assessed. In the second session, individuals provided a written narrative of their earliest childhood memory and a more recent memory (within-participants design) and rated the self themes present in each memory. In keeping with the SMS model, findings show that current self-characteristics were reflected in individuals' memories. As predicted, however, recent memories were more frequently linked to current self-characteristics than were earliest memories. All six current self-characteristics predicted the inclusion of these themes in recent memories, but only four self-characteristics were associated with memory themes in earliest memories. The relation between current self-characteristics and memory themes did not differ across young and middle-aged adults, suggesting developmental stability in these relations. Findings provide general support for the SMS model but also suggest possibilities for its extension and refinement.