ABSTRACT

All brain systems that can benefit from experience, by definition, have a form of memory. Autobiographical memory requires the integration of many such systems. Psychologists have been slow to study autobiographical memory as a brain phenomenon that integrates many components. One reason to invoke the brain as a metaphor is to foster this integrative approach. Language and especially narrative structure are necessary components of autobiographical memory. Autobiographical memories are usually recalled as narrative. Imagery is another major component of autobiographical memory. Following Brewer's analyses, the chapter concentrates on visual imagery. The intimate relation of having an image and having an autobiographical memory, however, does cause problems. Affect is another main component of autobiographical memory, but unlike narrative and imagery, affect is traditionally seen as outside cognition rather than as an aspect of it. As seen in the work of Christianson and Safer and of Williams, affect has profound effects on autobiographical memory.