Title

Meaning making, uncertainty reduction, and the functions of autobiographical memory: A relational framework

Publication Date

2010

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Three interrelated propositions are used to formulate a conceptual framework for understanding how the widely reported functions of autobiographical memory (a.m.)—the self, social, and directive functions—are related, complementary, and purposive. The existential literature provides a structure of meaningful relationships among various existential elements that are represented in a.m. It is argued that humans are meaning-makers driven by the need to make and understand relations within socially constructed realities. Human agency suggests that the process of self-reflection is a distinctly human core property of agency; moreover, the process of self-reflection is imbued with uncertainty. The social–cognitive literature suggests that humans seek relational coherence and meaning-ness, and strive to reduce uncertainty in their relational structures. Thus, it is suggested that the a.m. functions interact and support one another through relational frameworks such that a consistent and coherent life story can be created and maintained. Implications of this research are provided.

Original Citation

Olivares, O.J. (2010). Meaning making, uncertainty reduction, and the functions of autobiographical memory: A relational framework. Review of General Psychology, 14(3), 204-211. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020469