What Is Autobiographical Memory?

If we want to know what autobiographical memory is, first we have to consider the word autobiography. The narration of our life is known as autobiography and the narration is present in this type of memory.


Autobiographical memory is the ability to store in the memory, the episodes which have happened in the past. It is because of this memory that we are able to remember what has happened to us in the past. These memories can refer to an event that happened at a specific place and time.

It is not necessary that the memories have specific events because this memory also helps us to store and recover general memories. In this article, we will describe what autobiographical memory is, so to know more, read the article till the end.

Some Memories Remain In Our Mind

It is not possible for our mind to remember each and every event that has happened to us in our past. Some events which have marked us with a significant intensity will be the part of our autobiographical memory while other events which were failed to mark us with such intensity will not become the part of autobiographical memory.

Some Memories Remain In Our Mind

Note: You can tell easily what you have eaten last night but you cannot tell easily what you have eaten for the last week. Can you?

Why Do We Remember Some Events & Forget Others?

The memory of our early childhood is the one which we usually do not remember. It is difficult to remember the events before the fifth years of our life because in those years the development of our brain is very high and the storing of memory is not stable.

Why Do We Remember Some Events & Forget Others

Note: It is a fact that we have many more memories of our adolescence but it is really hard to remember the memories of our childhood.

Another significant fact is that our brain remembers only the events of last year and the memories of past years have been deleted because our brain needs space to memorize new things. To illustrate this, let us have an example, we can recall the memories of last year more than the memories of 10 years ago.

The Brain Of People With Good Autobiographical Memory

It is really interesting fact that the people with an amazing autobiographical memory, and people with a more limited autobiographical memory, have significant differences regarding their brains.

According to a study by the University of California Irvine (UCI), it was concluded that the mental processes of a person having a significantly higher than average autobiographical memory is different compared to the mental processes of that person who has an average autobiographical memory.

The Brain Of People With Good Autobiographical Memory

It was reported in the study that the people, who had a superior autobiographical memory, recalled many more events that took place after their ten years of age. These people with a surprising autobiographical memory not only had more memories from their early age but also remembered many more details.

James McCaugh, one of the people who were part of the team of scientists, explained that people who have an excellent autobiographical memory have a greater amount of dense persistence white matter in the connections of the brain.

Aurora LePort, the co-author of this study concluded that people with hypertension have an amazing autobiographical memory. But we cannot compare these hypersensitive people with those who have a special ability to memorize a lot of data because it is a totally different skill.

Characteristics Of People With An Amazing Autobiographical Memory

Characteristics Of People With An Amazing Autobiographical Memory

When a person with amazing autobiographical memory is mentioned a specific date, such as July 4, 2010, he/she will be able to tell you on which day of the week that date fell, in a total of 99 out of 100 times. Such type of people usually collect items such as stamps, postcards, magazines or shoes etc.

The Autobiographical Memory As A Part Of The Episodic Memory

The autobiographical memory collects our emotions we feel, places we visit, or moments we live. The episodic memory creates some part of the declarative memory as well as the semantic memory.

The Autobiographical Memory As A Part Of The Episodic Memory

This memory is recovered in an explicit way i.e. there is a will of the person to recover the memory. However, the procedural memory is recovered implicitly i.e. without a willingness to recover the memory.

Some Interesting Facts About Human Memory

  • A CIA-funded psychiatrist, Dr. Ewen Cameron in 1963, managed to completely wash the memory of a woman by using hallucinogens and electroshocks over the period of 86 days.
  • It will actually help you to have a good memory when you believe that your memory is good.
  • The belief that goldfish have a memory of few seconds is not true. In reality, they can be trained to perform tricks and to react on light signals.
  • Event boundary is the phenomenon in which we often forget what we needed when we enter a room.
  • The condition that allows the person to remember each detail of his life is called hyperthymesia.
  • Spices and spicy foods help in the memory production. They act as stimuli for the brain to memorize hat moment. They may be used to treat Alzheimer’s.
  • Stephen King was so much addicted to the drugs that he was unable to remember writing his novel Cujo.

Some Interesting Facts About Human Memory

  • Grand Master of Memory is awarded to the people who are successfully able to negotiate the following three memory attributes.
  • Memorize 1,000 random digits in an hour.
  • The order of 10 shuffled decks of cards in an hour.
  • The order of one shuffled deck of cards in under 2 minutes.
  • Caffeine does not maintain the performances of memory instead it only increases the alertness.
  • It is a fact that we are more likely to remember the information which is provided in a weird, difficult to read font.

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