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Trends Cogn Sci. 2018 Jul;22(7):583-597. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2018.04.007. Epub 2018 May 25.

Individual Differences in Autobiographical Memory.

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Memory Disorders Research Center & Neuroimaging Research for Veterans Center (NeRVe), VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montréal, Canada.
Baycrest Health Sciences, Rotman Research Institute, Toronto, Canada; Department of Psychology and Medicine (Neurology), University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:


Although humans have a remarkable capacity to recall a wealth of detail from the past, there are marked interindividual differences in the quantity and quality of our mnemonic experiences. Such differences in autobiographical memory may appear self-evident, yet there has been little research on this topic. In this review, we synthesize an emerging body of research regarding individual differences in autobiographical memory. We focus on two syndromes that fall at the extremes of the 'remembering' dimension: highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) and severely deficient autobiographical memory (SDAM). We also discuss findings from research on less extreme individual differences in autobiographical memory. This avenue of research is pivotal for a full description of the behavioral and neural substrates of autobiographical memory.


Episodic memory; highly superior autobiographical memory; severely deficient autobiographical memory


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