PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal

Article Title

Experiential Self-Referential Processing & Autobiographical Memory Retrieval: A Preliminary Look


Self-referential processing can be defined as the process of experiencing stimuli as they relate to one’s self (Northoff, 2006). Two distinct modes of self-referential processing, an “experiential mode” of self-referential processing, and a “narrative mode,” have been proposed, and subsequently supported by neuroimaging research (Farb et al., 2007; Gallagher, 2000; Tagini & Raffone, 2010). Previous studies examining self-reference and memory utilize methods that may only engage a narrative form of self-reference (Macrae et al., 2004; Rogers, Kuiper, & Kirker, 1977; Symons & Johnson, 1997), leaving the relationship between the experiential mode of self-reference and memory processes open for investigation. In this study, we examine how mindfulness training may affect (a) the cultivation of mindfulness, a present-oriented, nonjudgmental state similar to the experiential mode of self-reference; (b) executive functions related to mindfulness that make shifting and sustaining awareness in this state possible; (c) the frequency of rumination, a state of self-evaluation similar to the narrative mode of self-reference, and (d) the characteristics of the self-relevant memories one retrieves when asked to during a behavioral task. The study was a 2 x 2 quasi-experimental mixed design with a within-subject (pre-test vs. post-test) and between-subjects factor (mindfulness group vs. control group).

Faculty Mentor: Robert Roeser