This article examines the idea that believing that events occurred in the past is a non-memorial decision that reflects underlying processes that are distinct from recollecting events. Research on autobiographical memory has often focused on events that are both believed to have occurred and remembered, thus tending to overlook the distinction between autobiographical belief and recollection. Studying event representations such as false memories, believed-not-remembered events, and non-believed memories shows the influence of non-memorial processes on evaluations of occurrence. Believing that an event occurred and recollecting an event may be more strongly dissociated than previously stated. The relative independence of these constructs was examined in 2 studies. In Study 1, multiple events were cued, and then each was rated on autobiographical belief, recollection, and other memory characteristics. In Study 2, participants described a nonbelieved memory, a believed memory, and a believed-not-remembered event, and they made similar ratings. In both studies, structural equation modeling techniques revealed distinct belief and recollection latent variables. Modeling the predictors of these factors revealed a double dissociation: Perceptual, re-experiencing, and emotional features predicted recollection and not belief, whereas event plausibility strongly predicted belief and weakly predicted recollection. The results show that judgments of autobiographical belief and recollection are distinct, that each is influenced by different sources of information and processes, and that the strength of their relationship varies depending on the type of event under study. The concept of autobiographical belief is elaborated, and implications of the findings are discussed in relation to decision making about events, social influence on memory, metacognition, and recognition processes. © 2013 American Psychological Association.
The role of belief in occurrence within autobiographical memory / Scoboria, Alan; Jackson, Dennis L.; Talarico, Jennifer; Hanczakowski, Maciej; Wysman, Lauren; Mazzoni, Giuliana. - In: JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY. GENERAL. - ISSN 0096-3445. - 143:3(2014), pp. 1242-1258. [10.1037/a0034110]