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Culture and Cognition

A collection of critical essays

Edited By Shamsul Haque and Elizabeth Sheppard

The past few decades have seen a huge increase in global interest in psychology, with more psychologists, psychology programmes and students than ever before. Culture and Cognition: A collection of critical essays is made up of chapters written by experts in each topic, and is aimed at those wishing to learn more about psychology. While culture and cognition have frequently been regarded as separate areas of study in psychology, this book brings together essays on both of these topics as well as several that consider the direct interplay between culture and thinking.
Essays focus on a range of fascinating topics, such as how culture affects memory for events in our own lives or our perceptions of human attractiveness. Essays also address a diverse range of psychological phenomena like déjà-vu, savant abilities, non-suicidal self-injury, theory of mind, problem gambling and sleep disorders. Socio-cultural and professional issues specifically within the Asian context are also discussed.
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Cultural life scripts in autobiographical memory


When people are referring to the memories they have of their own life experiences, they speak of autobiographical memory (Robinson, 1986). Autobiographical memory is taxonomically speaking a part of episodic memory, but autobiographical memories are more complex than episodic memories. They can involve seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching, and they can vary greatly in spatial, temporal, emotional and narrative content (Rubin, 2005). Autobiographical memory consists of both vivid memories and autobiographical facts (Brewer, 1986; Cermak, 1984; Conway, 1987).

When looking at the temporal distribution of autobiographical memory, one can distinguish three components (Rubin, Rahhal, & Poon, 1998; Rubin, Wetzler, & Nebes, 1986). First, people hardly recall any personal events from the period before early childhood, which is called childhood or infantile amnesia. They only start to remember events from the ages of 3 or 4 years. Second, there is an increased recall of events from the last five to ten years, because these recent memories are less likely to be forgotten than distant memories. Third, people tend to recall more personal events from the period in which they were between 10 and 30 years old than from adjacent lifetime periods, which is called the reminiscence bump. In Figure 1 which is taken from Janssen, Rubin, and St. Jacques (2011), we have given 12 typical lifetime distributions of autobiographical memories recalled by participants between the ages of 16 and 75. To make the figure easier to read, the distributions were divided over three panels. ← 27 | 28...

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