Bilingual Autobiographical Memory and Emotion: Theory and Methods

Robert W. Schrauf, Ramon Durazo-Arvizu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

25 Scopus citations


Does remembering an event in another language affect the feel of that memory? Would the immigrant’s memories of childhood in another country feel less poignant when recalled in a second language? Do the sojourners’ tales of life ‘over-there’ seem less emotionally powerful when translated for the folks at home? Certainly, some clinical reports suggest that the emotional power of a memory can be held at bay by talking about it in another language (Schrauf, 2000). Is emotion lost in translation? Experimental work on emotion in bilingual autobiographical memory is fairly recent, and in what follows, we address three broad questions: What is autobiographical memory? Where is the emotion in autobiographical memory? Where is the language in autobiographical memory? Over the course of the chapter, we offer a view that dissects a memory into (a) some details that are rather vividly re-experienced at recall and (b) some details that are supplied by other sources in memory.We suggest that both emotion and language are present in memories in both these ways. The sections on emotion and language include summaries and critiques of current research procedures and suggestions for improvements. In a final section, we present the findings from two recent studies of emotion in bilingual autobiographical memory (Marian & Kaushanskaya, 2004; Schrauf & Rubin, 2004) and advocate the use of more advanced statistical methods for the analysis of autobiographical memory data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBilingual Minds
Subtitle of host publicationEmotional Experience, Expression, and Representation
PublisherChannel View Publications
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781853598746
ISBN (Print)9781853598722
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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