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Autobiographical Memories for Personal and Public Events in Alzheimer’s Disease, Depression, and Healthy Individuals

Fatma Uçar Boyraz, Nurhan Er
2007; 22(60):45-64

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The main purpose of this study is examining autobiographical memory characteristics related to personal and public events with different samples. In order to fulfill this purpose, the data have gathered from patients suffering from 60 Alzheimer, 39 Depression and from 45 comparison group which resembles others according to demographical characteristics. Process of gathering data was done by using Autobiographical Memory Characteristics Scale (Er, Adalı, Olcay, Çavuşoğlu & Şimşek, 2004) and şashbulb Memories subscale of Autobiographical Memory Questionnaire (Er & Uçar, 2004). One by one interview held with the participants. Participants were requested to tell an autobiographical event which has importance for their personal life and then an autobiographical event which is related to public event. In the course of evaluating the data, what participants told was graded according to four dimensions which are ş uency, spontaneous progression, level of details and the subject's level of centralization of herself in the event. After the general evaluation which was done according to participants' narrations and responds to scales, their responds to scale items were graded. Besides that participants were evaluated in all dimensions according to confabulation. Findings show that Alzheimer patients got fewer grades than other groups according to all dimensions except confabulation. Another finding shows that personal autobiographical memories are remembered better than autobiographical memories which are related to public events. Besides, findings indicate that forgetting factor which characterizes Alzheimer with forgetfulness do not occurs as only forgetting, instead occurs after a kind of confabulation progress. Another finding indicates that Alzheimer patients do not have any awareness regarding their forgetfulness. Patients suffering depression cannot remember their memories as good as comparison group. As a conclusion, findings indicate that strong relationship between autobiographical memory and self in all groups.

Keywords: Autobiographical memory for personal events, autobiographical events for public events, confabulation, Alzheimer, depression