Publications by authors named "Tabea Wolf"

7 Publications

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The valence and the functions of autobiographical memories: Does intensity matter?

Conscious Cogn 2021 05 26;91:103119. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Department of Developmental Psychology, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081 Ulm, Germany.

Autobiographical memories serve psychosocial functions in daily life and the use of memories is related to their valence. In the present study, we examined whether functions are also related to the intensity of positive and negative memories. Our sample included 110 participants (57-89 years of age). Memories were prompted with 30 emotionally neutral cue words. Participants rated the emotional quality of each memory and indicated how frequently they had recalled it for self-continuity, directing behavior, social-bonding, and mood-enhancement. We used multilevel modeling to test whether individual differences in the use of memories can explain why individuals recall different numbers of positive and negative memories as well as memories high or low in intensity. Each function revealed its specific pattern regarding valence and intensity but also regarding within-person and between-person effects. Mood-enhancement showed the strongest relations, which points to the importance of considering emotion regulation as a function of autobiographical memory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2021.103119DOI Listing
May 2021

What characterizes the reminiscence bump in autobiographical memory? New answers to an old question.

Mem Cognit 2020 05;48(4):607-622

Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081, Ulm, Germany.

The reminiscence bump represents one of the most robust findings in autobiographical memory research. As such, it has led to a number of different explanatory accounts that aim to elucidate it. Because most of these accounts have received some empirical support, it has been assumed that they may equally contribute to the explanation of the reminiscence bump phenomenon. In the present study, we used a multilevel multinomial mixed-effects model to examine the predictive power of explanatory variables selected from different accounts simultaneously. Analyses were based on 2,813 autobiographical memories that 97 older adults aged between 60 and 88 years reported in response to 31 cue words. Overall, the predictor variables (i.e., first-time experience, importance and emotional valence) meaningfully distinguished memories from the reminiscence bump from memories from life periods before and after. These effects, however, did not always go into the hypothesized directions. In addition, results of a Commonality Analysis indicated that although the explanatory accounts considered in the present study draw on qualities of autobiographical memories (within-person effects), they might be more useful in explaining why individuals differ in the number of autobiographical memories reported from the reminiscence bump period (between-person effects). Taken together, our findings are in line with a more integrative view on the reminiscence bump that, additionally, emphasizes the individual (e.g., the life-story account).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13421-019-00994-6DOI Listing
May 2020

The mood-enhancement function of autobiographical memories: Comparisons with other functions in terms of emotional valence.

Conscious Cogn 2019 04 16;70:88-100. Epub 2019 Mar 16.

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland; University Research Priority Program "Dynamics of Healthy Aging", University of Zurich, Switzerland. Electronic address:

In two studies, we examined the emotional valence of memories used for mood-enhancement in relation to memories serving self, social and directive functions. Our sample included a total of 263 participants aged between 45 and 82 years. In Study 1, participants recalled memories in response to 51 cue words. In Study 2, participants recalled 32 memories that served the four functions (eight memories per function). We used multilevel modeling to take into consideration the hierarchical nature of our datasets (memories nested within individuals). Study 1 showed that emotional valence was positively associated with mood-enhancement and social functions, whereas negatively related to self and directive functions. This relation was strongest for the mood-enhancement function. In Study 2, mood-enhancing memories were rated as more positive than self, social and directive memories. We discussed results in terms of the tripartite model of memory functions and proposed that mood-enhancement should represent a distinct function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2019.03.002DOI Listing
April 2019

Leveling up the analysis of the reminiscence bump in autobiographical memory: A new approach based on multilevel multinomial models.

Mem Cognit 2018 10;46(7):1178-1193

Department of Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081, Ulm, Germany.

In many studies of autobiographical memory, participants are asked to generate more than one autobiographical memory. The resulting data then have a hierarchical or multilevel structure, in the sense that the autobiographical memories (Level 1) generated by the same person (Level 2) tend to be more similar. Transferred to an analysis of the reminiscence bump in autobiographical memory, at Level 1 the prediction of whether an autobiographical memory will fall within the reminiscence bump is based on the characteristics of that memory. At Level 2, the prediction of whether an individual will report more autobiographical memories that fall in the reminiscence bump is based on the characteristics of the individual. We suggest a multilevel multinomial model that allows for analyzing whether an autobiographical memory falls in the reminiscence bump at both levels of analysis simultaneously. The data come from 100 older participants who reported up to 33 autobiographical memories. Our results showed that about 12% of the total variance was between persons (Level 2). Moreover, at Level 1, memories of first-time experiences were more likely to fall in the reminiscence bump than were emotionally more positive memories. At Level 2, persons who reported more emotionally positive memories tended to report fewer memories from the life period after the reminiscence bump. In addition, cross-level interactions showed that the effects at Level 1 partly depended on the Level 2 effects. We discuss possible extensions of the model we present and the meaning of our findings for two prominent explanatory approaches to the reminiscence bump, as well as future directions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13421-018-0830-8DOI Listing
October 2018

The distribution and the functions of autobiographical memories: Why do older adults remember autobiographical memories from their youth?

Eur J Ageing 2016 Sep 12;13(3):241-250. Epub 2016 Apr 12.

Department of Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081 Ulm, Germany.

In the present study, the distribution of autobiographical memories was examined from a functional perspective: we examined whether the extent to which long-term autobiographical memories were rated as having a self-, a directive, or a social function affects the location (mean age) and scale (standard deviation) of the memory distribution. Analyses were based on a total of 5598 autobiographical memories generated by 149 adults aged between 50 and 81 years in response to 51 cue-words. Participants provided their age at the time when the recalled events had happened and rated how frequently they recall these events for self-, directive, and social purposes. While more frequently using autobiographical memories for self-functions was associated with an earlier mean age, memories frequently shared with others showed a narrower distribution around a later mean age. The directive function, by contrast, did not affect the memory distribution. The results strengthen the assumption that experiences from an individual's late adolescence serve to maintain a sense of self-continuity throughout the lifespan. Experiences that are frequently shared with others, in contrast, stem from a narrow age range located in young adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-016-0372-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5550639PMC
September 2016

How can individual differences in autobiographical memory distributions of older adults be explained?

Memory 2016 10 22;24(9):1287-99. Epub 2015 Oct 22.

a Department of Developmental Psychology , Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University , Ulm , Germany.

The reminiscence bump phenomenon has frequently been reported for the recall of autobiographical memories. The present study complements previous research by examining individual differences in the distribution of word-cued autobiographical memories. More importantly, we introduce predictor variables that might account for individual differences in the mean (location) and the standard deviation (scale) of individual memory distributions. All variables were derived from different theoretical accounts for the reminiscence bump phenomenon. We used a mixed location-scale logitnormal model, to analyse the 4602 autobiographical memories reported by 118 older participants. Results show reliable individual differences in the location and the scale. After controlling for age and gender, individual proportions of first-time experiences and individual proportions of positive memories, as well as the ratings on Openness to new Experiences and Self-Concept Clarity accounted for 29% of individual differences in location and 42% of individual differences in scale of autobiographical memory distributions. Results dovetail with a life-story account for the reminiscence bump which integrates central components of previous accounts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1102291DOI Listing
October 2016

Differences in the use of autobiographical memory across the adult lifespan.

Memory 2015 24;23(8):1238-54. Epub 2014 Oct 24.

a Department of Developmental Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education , University of Ulm , Ulm , Germany.

Current research distinguishes between self, directive and social function of autobiographical memories (AMs). To date, only few studies have investigated these functions across adulthood. The comparison of different age groups requires that the functions of AM are measured in the same way across groups (measurement invariance, MI). Additionally to the average use of AM, the factor variances and factor covariances among the three functions were examined across adulthood. In the present study, 1290 adults (aged between 17 and 93 years) completed the Thinking about Life Experiences Questionnaire (TALE), which measures the overall use of AMs for self, directive and social purposes. The sample was divided into five age groups and partial strong MI was established using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis. The results showed an increase in the factor associations as well as a decrease in the factor mean levels of all three functions across age groups. Both findings could be adequately described by linear functions of age. The factor variances were on most parts equal across age groups. These results strengthen the assumption that--from a lifespan developmental perspective--the use of AM may be aligned with relatively normative developmental tasks in a given society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2014.971815DOI Listing
July 2016
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