A Structural Model of Autobiographical Memory

  • Martin A. Conway
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASID, volume 65)


The structural model of autobiographical memory proposes that memories are dynamically constructed ‘on-line’ rather than retrieved directly from memory. A generative retrieval process successively samples long-term memory structures which retain knowledge of phenomenal experiences occurring at encoding or thematic knowledge relating to the meaning of an event. Knowledge of phenomenal experiences and associated thematic knowledge are combined by a central processing resource and in this way an autobiographical memory is constructed. The structural model is supported by a wide range of findings within autobiographical memory research and from studies of amnesia. Moreover, the structural model strongly emphasises the role of the self in autobiographical memory construction. The model also implies that the ‘experience’ of remembering arises when knowledge of past phenomenal experience is incorporated into current processing sequences.


General Event Knowledge Structure Autobiographical Memory Thematic Knowledge Phenomenal Experience 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin A. Conway
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LancasterEngland

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