Autobiographical memory in schizophrenia

An examination of the distribution of memories

Brita Elvevåg*, K. Megan Kerbs, James D. Malley, Elizabeth Seeley, Terry E. Goldberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)


Patients with schizophrenia display numerous memory impairments. Examination of autobiographical memory distribution across the life span can constrain theories of how schizophrenia affects memory. Previously, schizophrenic patients were shown to produce fewer memories from early adulthood than from childhood or the recent past (A. Feinstein, T. E. Goldberg, B. Nowlin, & D. R. Weinberger, 1998), this temporal paucity corresponding with illness onset. The current study examined this issue further using a different (noncued) method. Age-matched schizophrenic patients (n = 21) and controls (n = 21) were to freely generate 50 episodes, after which they dated these memories. Patients generated fewer memories than did controls, especially from the recent decade. When the overall lower production of memories was controlled for, the groups displayed equivalent recency effects. It was concluded that patients' paucity of memories generated from the recent decade reflects encoding or acquisition problems, which may be associated with the illness period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-409
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003

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    Elvevåg, B., Kerbs, K. M., Malley, J. D., Seeley, E., & Goldberg, T. E. (2003). Autobiographical memory in schizophrenia: An examination of the distribution of memories. Neuropsychology, 17(3), 402-409.