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The Characteristics of Involuntary Autobiographical Memories in Young Adults and Older Adults: The Relationship between IAM and Emotional State

  • THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
  • 2024, 37(1), pp.43-62
  • DOI : 10.35574/KJDP.2024.3.37.1.43
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Developmental Psychology
  • Research Area : Social Science > Psychological Science
  • Received : January 10, 2024
  • Accepted : February 16, 2024
  • Published : March 15, 2024

Youngkyoung Kim 1

1충북대학교 인간심리연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

An involuntary autobiographical memory(IAM) is a memory of a personal experience that comes to consciousness spontaneously, without preceding attempts to retrieve it. This study investigated the characteristics of IAM and the effects of IAM on emotion in young adults and older adults. Participants were 69 young (M = 22.47, 33 males, 36 females) and 43 older (M = 75.52, 21 males, 22 females) adults. They maintained an IAM diary which is composed of the contents, level of emotional valence, vividness, and rehearsal of memory, etc. for seven days. Using the data from the IAM diary, memories were classified based on the theme categories and the relationship between the frequency of IAM and mental health were analyzed. The results showed no age differences in the frequency of three emotional valence IAMs and both young and older adults retrieved more positive IAMs than negative IAMs. The IAM of older adults was more vivid and they rated positive IAM more positively and negative IAM more negatively than young adults. While young adults rehearsed negative IAM more frequently, older adults rehearsed positive IAM more often than negative IAM. The frequency of positive IAM was related to subjective well-being in older adults. These findings suggest the role of positivity bias and emotional regulation.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.