The Structure of Autobiographical Memory and the Event History Calendar: Potential Improvements in the Quality of Retrospective Reports in Surveys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

323 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper reviews the literature on the structure of autobiographical memory and points to the use of event history calendars as a survey methodology that reflects this structure. Autobiographical memory structure is characterised as an hierarchical network that includes extended, summarised, and specific events, and that permits retrieval of past events through multiple pathways that work top-down in the hierarchy, sequentially within life themes that unify extended events, and in parallel across life themes that involve contemporaneous and sequential events. Traditional survey questions tend to segment related aspects of autobiographical events from one another, and do not reflect the interrelatedness of events as indicated within the structure of autobiographical memory. In contrast, event history calendars do promote sequential and parallel retrieval within the autobiographical memory network. By reflecting the structure of autobiographical memory, the use of event history calendars has considerable potential in assisting respondents to reconstruct their personal pasts more completely and accurately, maximising the quality of retrospective reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-406
Number of pages24
JournalMemory
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

Fingerprint

Episodic Memory
Quality Improvement
Surveys and Questionnaires
Calendars
History
Autobiographical Memory
Calendar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

@article{8cd8f599c62d4d3a95ecc7945083cd21,
title = "The Structure of Autobiographical Memory and the Event History Calendar: Potential Improvements in the Quality of Retrospective Reports in Surveys",
abstract = "This paper reviews the literature on the structure of autobiographical memory and points to the use of event history calendars as a survey methodology that reflects this structure. Autobiographical memory structure is characterised as an hierarchical network that includes extended, summarised, and specific events, and that permits retrieval of past events through multiple pathways that work top-down in the hierarchy, sequentially within life themes that unify extended events, and in parallel across life themes that involve contemporaneous and sequential events. Traditional survey questions tend to segment related aspects of autobiographical events from one another, and do not reflect the interrelatedness of events as indicated within the structure of autobiographical memory. In contrast, event history calendars do promote sequential and parallel retrieval within the autobiographical memory network. By reflecting the structure of autobiographical memory, the use of event history calendars has considerable potential in assisting respondents to reconstruct their personal pasts more completely and accurately, maximising the quality of retrospective reports.",
author = "Belli, {Robert F.}",
year = "1998",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/741942610",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
pages = "383--406",
journal = "Memory",
issn = "0965-8211",
publisher = "Psychology Press Ltd",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Structure of Autobiographical Memory and the Event History Calendar

T2 - Potential Improvements in the Quality of Retrospective Reports in Surveys

AU - Belli, Robert F.

PY - 1998/1/1

Y1 - 1998/1/1

N2 - This paper reviews the literature on the structure of autobiographical memory and points to the use of event history calendars as a survey methodology that reflects this structure. Autobiographical memory structure is characterised as an hierarchical network that includes extended, summarised, and specific events, and that permits retrieval of past events through multiple pathways that work top-down in the hierarchy, sequentially within life themes that unify extended events, and in parallel across life themes that involve contemporaneous and sequential events. Traditional survey questions tend to segment related aspects of autobiographical events from one another, and do not reflect the interrelatedness of events as indicated within the structure of autobiographical memory. In contrast, event history calendars do promote sequential and parallel retrieval within the autobiographical memory network. By reflecting the structure of autobiographical memory, the use of event history calendars has considerable potential in assisting respondents to reconstruct their personal pasts more completely and accurately, maximising the quality of retrospective reports.

AB - This paper reviews the literature on the structure of autobiographical memory and points to the use of event history calendars as a survey methodology that reflects this structure. Autobiographical memory structure is characterised as an hierarchical network that includes extended, summarised, and specific events, and that permits retrieval of past events through multiple pathways that work top-down in the hierarchy, sequentially within life themes that unify extended events, and in parallel across life themes that involve contemporaneous and sequential events. Traditional survey questions tend to segment related aspects of autobiographical events from one another, and do not reflect the interrelatedness of events as indicated within the structure of autobiographical memory. In contrast, event history calendars do promote sequential and parallel retrieval within the autobiographical memory network. By reflecting the structure of autobiographical memory, the use of event history calendars has considerable potential in assisting respondents to reconstruct their personal pasts more completely and accurately, maximising the quality of retrospective reports.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0032128574&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0032128574&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/741942610

DO - 10.1080/741942610

M3 - Article

C2 - 9829098

AN - SCOPUS:0032128574

VL - 6

SP - 383

EP - 406

JO - Memory

JF - Memory

SN - 0965-8211

IS - 4

ER -