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Memory of myself: Autobiographical memory and identity in Alzheimer's disease
 

Summary: Memory of myself: Autobiographical memory and
identity in Alzheimer's disease
Donna Rose Addis, and Lynette J. Tippett
University of Auckland, New Zealand
A number of theories posit a relationship between autobiographical memory and identity. To test this we
assessed the status of autobiographical memory and identity in 20 individuals with Alzheimer's disease
(AD) and 20 age-matched controls, and investigated whether degree of autobiographical memory
impairment was associated with changes in identity. Two tests of autobiographical memory (Auto-
biographical Memory Interview, autobiographical fluency) and two measures of identity (Twenty
Statements Test, identity items of the Tennessee Self Concept Scale) were administered. AD participants
exhibited significant impairments on both memory tests, and changes in the strength, quality, and
direction of identity relative to controls. Impairments of some components of autobiographical memory,
particularly autobiographical memory for childhood and early adulthood, were related to changes in the
strength and quality of identity. These findings support the critical role of early adulthood auto-
biographical memories (1625 years) in identity, and suggest autobiographical memory loss affects
identity.
A number of theories from the domains of phi-
losophy and social and cognitive psychology posit
a relationship between autobiographical memory
and processes of identity (e.g., Parfit, 1984;

  

Source: Addis, Donna Rose - Department of Psychology, University of Auckland

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine