Disruptive Individual Experiences Create Lifetime Periods: a Study of Autobiographical Memory in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury

Uzer Yıldız T., Brown N. R.

APPLIED COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, vol.29, no.5, pp.768-774, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/acp.3148
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.768-774
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


Previous research showed that transitional events causing catastrophic and long-lasting changes in group of people's lives (e.g., wars) create autobiographical periods. We investigated whether spinal cord injury (SCI), an involuntary and externally driven disruptive event at the individual level, would also act as a temporal landmark and spawn personal periods and whether these periods have comparable functions and temporal characteristics as those generated at the group level. Thirteen volunteers with SCI recalled a cue-related autobiographical event for each of 22 cue words. Later, participants thought aloud when dating each event. We used the prevalence of injury-related references as an index of the degree to which spinal cord injury affects people's lives. We found frequent references to injury for the period neighboring injury event. Unexpectedly, we also found that SCI resulted in post-injury decrease in event memory. Results imply that SCI provides a temporal landmark and creates an autobiographical period. Copyright (C) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.