Putting Everything in its Place:The Role of Spatial Information in Personal Narratives Open Access

Jones, Maria (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/wh246s285?locale=en
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Abstract

Putting Everything in its Place: The Role of Spatial Information in Personal Narratives

Maria S. Jones

Abstract

Reminiscing about our personal past events is an integral part of our culture. Episodic memories are personal event memories that occurred at a particular place and time with the role of the self in these memories is represented in a type of episodic memory known as autobiographical memory. The importance of place information in personal memories is clear given that it is a defining characteristic of this type of memory, however very few studies have investigated the role of location in autobiographical memory. When investigated, location is typically embedded within numerous questions surrounding the context of an event, typically a traumatic event. It was therefore the purpose of the present study to provide the first systematic investigation of how adults spontaneously used location information in their autobiographical narratives, to determine the differences in location information by event type, and to investigate whether location information would predict narrative coherence. We investigated differences in spatial location representation by examining adults' (n=29, m age = 37) written narratives of the following 5 memories: earliest memory, transition to school, birth of a child, their child's transition to school, and a recent event. Each narrative was coded for coherence (context, chronology, and theme) and location (type and referent). Results indicated differences in overall use of location information as well as key differences between earlier and later memories. Specifically, more global location references were used in recent memories whereas more local references were used in earlier memories. Geographic location information was related to the thematic coherence of earlier but not later memories. Together, these findings indicate that location information varies by the type of event and relates to the quality of earlier memories.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

I. Introduction..........................................................1

II. Method ...............................................................9

III. Results.............................................................14

IV. Discussion.........................................................18

V. Conclusion..........................................................22

VI. References........................................................24

VII. Tables.............................................................28

VIII. Figures...........................................................31

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