Functions of autobiographical memory in Taiwanese and American emerging adults

Hsiao Wen Liao*, Susan Bluck, Nicole Alea, Ching Ling Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The study addresses cultural and person-level factors contributing to emerging adult's use of memory to serve adaptive functions. The focus is on three functions: self-continuity, social-bonding and directing-behaviour. Taiwanese (N = 85, 52 women) and American (N = 95, 51 women) emerging adults completed the Thinking about Life Experiences scale, and measures of trait personality, self-concept clarity and future time perspective. Findings show that individuals from both cultures use memory to serve these three functions, but Taiwanese individuals use memory more frequently than Americans to maintain self-continuity. Culture also interacted with person-level factors: in Taiwan, but not America, memory is more frequently used to create self-continuity in individuals high in conscientiousness. Across cultures, having lower self-concept clarity was related to greater use of memory to create self-continuity. Findings are discussed in terms of how memory serves functions in context and specific aspects of the Taiwanese and American cultural context that may predict the functional use of memory in emerging adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-436
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 20


  • Autobiographical memory
  • Culture
  • Function
  • Self-continuity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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