Locating the self in autobiographical memories: A new approach to analysis

Radka Antalikova, Manuel de la Mata, Andrés Santamaría, Mercedes Cubero, Samuel Arias, Tia G. B. Hansen

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Systematic cross-cultural variation in autobiographical memory has been demonstrated in previous research. This variation has been interpreted as mirroring differences in culturally diverging self-conceptions, implying that content characteristics of autobiographical memories can be used as indirect measures of self. However, majority of these characteristics rest on the traditional independence vs. interdependence dimension, and might only be suitable for typically Western and Eastern populations. Other content characteristics could be more instrumental for “locating” the self in autobiographical memories, such as the incidence of actions, mental states and reflections. Therefore, we propose a new approach to content analysis of autobiographical memories. The approach is theoretically grounded in Kagitcibasi's (2005) model of autonomy and relatedness and Bruner's (1987) distinction between landscape of action and landscape of consciousness. Operationalizing these concepts and building on empirical work of Qi Wang (e.g. Wang, 2001), we present a four-step coding system for content analysis of autobiographical memories. In the first step, memories are divided into separate units of analysis. In the next three steps, these units are placed within a number of different categories, and that with regards to who the units’ subjects are, what these subjects are doing or experiencing, and whether they are thereby showing any signs of agency and/or relatedness. Ultimately, the proposed coding system aims to capture how the self is present, and presented, in autobiographical memory in a more nuanced way than done in previous research. Hence, the system could be applicable for use in studies with a variety of culturally diverse populations.
TitelUnity, Diversity, and Culture
ForlagInternational Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-0-9845627-5-6
StatusUdgivet - 2016
Begivenhed22nd International Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology - Reims, Frankrig
Varighed: 15 jul. 201419 jul. 2014


Konference22nd International Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology


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