Send to

Choose Destination
J Exp Psychol Gen. 1988 Dec;117(4):371-6.

Phenomenal characteristics of memories for perceived and imagined autobiographical events.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544.


Two studies explored potential bases for reality monitoring (Johnson & Raye, 1981) of naturally occurring autobiographical events. In Study 1, subjects rated phenomenal characteristics of recent and childhood memories. Compared with imagined events, perceived events were given higher ratings on several characteristics, including perceptual information, contextual information, and supporting memories. This was especially true for recent memories. In Study 2, subjects described how they knew autobiographical events had (or had not) happened. For perceived events, subjects were likely to mention perceptual and contextual details of the memory and to refer to other supporting memories. For imagined events, subjects were likely to engage in reasoning based on prior knowledge. The results are consistent with the idea that reality monitoring draws on differences in qualitative characteristics of memories for perceived and imagined events (Johnson & Raye, 1981) and augment findings from more controlled laboratory studies of complex events (Johnson & Suengas, in press; Suengas & Johnson, 1988).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center