Involuntary autobiographical memories

an introduction to the unbidden past

Media:  Talk   

November 8, 2016

Byens Lys

Dorthe Berntsen

Professor at the department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences at Aarhus University. She is the leader of the centre of excellence Con Amore that focus primarily on autobiographical memory and Head of the Research Unit for Basic and Applied Research in Memory and Cognition at Aarhus University. Homepage

Kresten Osgood and Niclas Knudsen

Two familiar faces on the Danish music scene that have played with God and each man. God maybe not quite as much, but that have been played with Tom Jones, Dave Liebman, Billy Preston, Sam Rivers, Lonnie Smith, Yusuf Lateef and many others, so the background should be fine. The duo is composed of Nicklas Knudsen (guitar and a little of everything) and Kresten Osgood (Drums and a little of everything). Homepage Osgood Homepage Knudsen

Why do memories of past events suddenly come to mind? How common are such memories? How can they be studied experimentally? How do they differ from memories we retrieve deliberately? Are they adaptive and functional - or just a distraction?

Involuntary autobiographical memories are conscious memories of past events that come to mind spontaneously, with no preceding conscious search, but often in response to distinct situational cues (such as a melody, a taste or a smell triggering a memory). In contrast to the conventional view in psychology that such memories are rare or dysfunctional, more recent evidence shows that they are highly frequent in daily life and mostly positive.

Dorthe Berntsen, leader of the centre of excellence Con Amore will explain that experimental research has demonstrated that the appearance of such autobiographical memories is governed by well-known mechanisms of association. Brain scanner data suggest that they involve less executive processes compared with autobiographical memories retrieved deliberately. They may be viewed as a ‘short-cut’ to the personal past with possible implications for our understanding of autobiographical memory in individuals with impaired or less developed executive functions, such as individuals suffering from depression or dementia.

An invitation to learn more about yourself and, if you really want to take it seriously, you can be the subject of the experiment.

Cocktails that make you remember the past, and perhaps also your future person, while Kresten Osgood and Niclas Knudsen take the stage and rock the house. This constellation focuses on the more improvised and immediate. Without many agreements, the duo moves around in all the world-corners and with their playful approach to music, they create unpredictable and magical moments.

Entrance to the event is free. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:00.

The talk: