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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 57-67

Autobiographical Memory for Emotional Events in Amnesia

Irene Daum,1,4 Herta Flor,1,2 Susann Brodbeck,1 and Niels Birbaumer1,3

1Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
2Department of Psychology, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
3Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale, Universita degli Studi di Padova, Italy
4Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Gartenstr. 29, 72074 Tübingen, Germany, Italy

Copyright © 1996 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study investigated autobiographical memory for emotionally flavoured experiences in amnesia. Ten amnesic patients and 10 matched control subjects completed the Autobiographical Memory Interview and three semi-structured interviews which assessed memory for personal events associated with pain, happiness and fear. Despite retrograde amnesia for autobiographical facts and incidents, amnesics remembered a similar number of emotionally significant personal experiences as control subjects. Their recollections generally lacked elaboration and detail, but pain-related memories appeared to be more mildly impaired than memories associated with happiness and fear. The findings are discussed in relation to recent views on the relationship between affect and memory.