International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Role of Spreading Activation in the Retrieval of Autobiographical Memories
W. Richard Walker, Rodney J. Vogl, Hailee E. Brown

The current study examined the role of spreading activation in autobiographical memory. We employed the Galton-Crovitz cueing technique to assess retrieval times for self-referent information. In Experiment 1, 19 undergraduates retrieved 2 personal memories to 48 target words. It was found that spreading activation occurred in autobiographical memory. It was also found that retrieving autobiographical facts took significantly longer than retrieving autobiographical events. The evidence from Experiment 1 would also indicate that 1) autobiographical facts and autobiographical events are stored in the same memory system 2) availability operates in autobiographical memory. To further test this interpretation, in Experiment 2, 22 undergraduates were presented with target items and asked to recall either as many facts or events as possible in a limited time interval. It was found that while it seems that availability operates differently for facts and events, it does not appear to be a function of category size.

Full Text: PDF