Belief and recollection of autobiographical memories

David C. Rubin, Robert W. Schrauf, Daniel L. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

421 Citations (SciVal)


In three experiments, undergraduates rated autobiographical memories on scales derived from existing theories of memory. In multiple regression analyses, ratings of the degree to which subjects recollected (i.e., relived) their memories were predicted by visual imagery, auditory imagery, and emotions, whereas ratings of belief in the accuracy of their memories were predicted by knowledge of the setting. Recollection was predicted equally well in between- and within-subjects analyses, but belief consistently had smaller correlations and multiple regression predictions between subjects; individual differences in the cognitive scales that we measured could not account well for individual differences in belief. In contrast, measures of mood (Beck Depression Index) and dissociation (Dissociative Experience Scale) added predictive value for belief, but not for recollection. We also found that highly relived memories almost always had strong visual images and that remember/know judgments made on autobiographical memories were more closely related to belief than to recollection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-901
Number of pages15
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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