Narrate or Forget: Information Retrieval from Autobiographical Memory


  • Larysa Zasiekina Vice Rector
  • Olena Savchenko Professor Dr. Vadym Hetman Kyiv National Economic University Pedagogy and Psychology Department


autobiographical memory; information retrieval; self-narrative; problem-conflict situation.


The study aims to examine constructing meaning in self-narrative in the context of information retrieval from autobiographical memory. The study applies seven dimensions of constructing meaning in self-narratives, in particular, completeness of the socio-cultural context description, the text cohesion and coherence, the detailed event description, narrator’s communicative intentions, completeness of characters` description, representation of personal traits in the characters` descriptions, narrator’s purpose and position in the problem-conflict situation. After obtaining consent forms, we instructed the participants (91 students) to reflect on a problem-conflict situation from their everyday lives. Two experts unfamiliar with the study’s objectives coded the transcripts of participants’ conflict-based life stories interviews and defined 34 structural components, associated with autobiographical memory activation. The principal component analysis with rotation results in 11 generalized factors indicating autobiographical memory activation. A positive correlation shows that the autobiographical memory activation is associated with some dimensions of constructing meaning in self-narratives. They are disclosure of characters’ traits, autobiographical reasoning, contradictory statements, fragmentation and disorganization in trauma description, interaction patterns, causal interpretation of events. These results add to the rapidly expanding field of narrative therapy, especially the healing effect of trauma-focused narrative and integrating the traumatic experience into autobiographical memory.


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How to Cite

Zasiekina, L., & Savchenko, O. (2021). Narrate or Forget: Information Retrieval from Autobiographical Memory. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 9(18), 461–475. Retrieved from