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Autobiographical memory in bilinguals


Traditional studies on bilingual memory have focused, for the most part, on understanding memories of a nonpersonal nature. The assumptions have been that memory paradigms derived from these investigations can accurately describe and characterize memory systems in bilinguals and that they can be generalized to understanding memory of more personal phenomena. Unlike those earlier investigations, the present study utilized an experimental procedure which ensures a more direct investigation of memory of personal events. Five-minute monologues about a dramatic personal experience were elicited from a group of coordinate bilinguals and then analyzed following Chafe's (1980) methodology. We found qualitative and quantitative differences in the linguistic organization of personal memories in the two languages in terms of the number of idea and thought units and the extent of elaboration and affective tone of the memories under discussion. The findings are important in understanding ways memories of personal events are linguistically organized in bilinguals.

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Correspondence to Dr. Rafael Art Javier.

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Javier, R.A., Barroso, F. & Muñoz, M.A. Autobiographical memory in bilinguals. J Psycholinguist Res 22, 319–338 (1993).

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  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Personal Experience
  • Memory System
  • Quantitative Difference
  • Early Investigation