The research ME.NA.ME. (Memory - Narrative - Memory)
The research ME.NA.ME (Memory-Narrative-Memory) focuses on the idea that autobiographical memory and autobiographical narrative are different. The transformation of a memory into a narrative is similar to the shift from an inner thought to external speech described by Vygotskij (1965). In this shift, memories acquire new functions, that are semantic, pragmatic, and communicative functions. In a few words, personal narrative transforms autobiographical memory and makes it a cultural artifact. Starting from these theoretical concepts, some questions emerged: do these transformations impact the autobiographical memory? Does the way in which memory is narrated (autobiographical narrative) change this memory?
The research project ME.NA.ME starts from these questions and aims to distinguish autobiographical memory and autobiographical narrative to investigate whether narration modifies memory, how that occurs, and which conditions are required. The goal is to highlight the clinical implications of narration in several intervention areas.
In the experimental procedure, participants are asked to write down all the memories that are recalled in three minutes of time (Memory Fluency Test, MFT), providing them a brief title and evaluating them along a list of principle emotions (Ekman, 1999). Successively, participants are asked to choose a memory, to narrate it in a written or oral way, and to attribute emotions. This session is different across the studies of ME.NA.ME. according to the specific aim of the study. Finally, participants complete again the MFT and attribute emotions to the memory.
The strength of this research is to keep memory and narrative separated and thus to investigate the effects of narrative on memory, with a particular attention to emotions, which provide information about memory change (Conway, 2005).