Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Research Project
Are autobiographical memory characteristics related to objective memory performance?
Primary Investigators:
Dr. Karen L. Siedlecki (Fordham University)
Project Team:  
Colin Cranna (Undergraduate)
Matthew Dreskin (Undergraduate)
Nicholas Gatto (Undergraduate)
Sidney Goldstein (Undergraduate)
Jessica Lam (Undergraduate)
Stephanie Simeone (Undergraduate)
Alex Zazzera (Undergraduate)

Dr. Karen L. SiedleckiDr. Karen L. Siedlecki
Principal Investigator


All memories are reconstructions. A particularly striking demonstration of this assertion are third person memories (i.e., memories that we view from an observer perspective in which we can see ourselves in the memory). This is in contrast to first person (or field) perspective memories in which we re-experience the memory for our original point of view. In their seminal paper on the topic of memory perspective, Nigro and Neisser (1983) reported that one third of memories are viewed from the observer perspective. Third person memories are, by their definition, false memories. Thus, do those individuals who retrieve memories more often from the third person perspective more likely to have less accurate memories in general? Also of interest is whether those individuals with more vivid memories more likely to have more accurate memories in general. To date, no studies have examined whether a relationship exists between characteristics of autobiographical memories (e.g., perspective, vividness, sensory detail, etc.) and accuracy of memory as measured in a laboratory setting.


The goal of this study is to examine whether autobiographical memory characteristics (e.g., perspective, vividness, sensory detail) relate to objective memory performance (measured by memory for words, faces, stories, and abstract line drawings).


Over 100 participants have completed a questionnaire in which they rated nine memories (3 positive, 3 negative, and 3 neutral) on several different characteristics. The participants then completed four different memory tests that assessed different types of memory (word recall, face recognition, story recall, and recall of abstract line drawings).


Further data collection is under way.

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