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AIAS Fellows' Seminar: Dorthe Berntsen, invited by AIAS fellow Annette Bohn

Title: Involuntary autobiographical memories: An introduction to the unbidden past.

2013.12.11 | AIAS

Date Mon 12 May
Time 14:15 16:15
Location The AIAS Auditorium, Building 1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C


Autobiographical memory is a neurocognitive (brain/mind) system for consciously recollecting events in the personal past, by combining and extending more basic systems in constructing mental representations of personal experiences. Evolutionarily, autobiographical memory is central for the ability to participate in complex social systems. Dorthe Berntsens talk will focus on involuntary autobiographical memories – that is, memories of past events that come to mind with no preceding conscious search but often in response to situational cues. In contrast to the conventional, but empirically unfounded, view that involuntary memories are rare and dysfunctional, Berntsen will present evidence that involuntary autobiographical memories are a basic mode of remembering - with the implications that such memories are universal, frequent in daily life, governed by well-known and discernible mechanisms of association, fundamental for regulating behavior, operating early in life, and operating in at least some non-human animals. 

Short CV

Dorthe Berntsen is a professor of psychology at Aarhus University in Denmark. She received her education and training, including her PhD, from the Aarhus University. Her research focuses on autobiographical memory. Her work in autobiographical memory covers research on traumatic memories, involuntary (spontaneously arising) memories and cultural life scripts, which are culturally shared expectations about the order and timing of life events in a prototypical life course. Recently, she has studied the interplay between memories for the past and images of possible events in the personal future. She is the leader of Center on Autobiographical Memory Research (CON AMORE), which is a Center of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation.


What is a Fellows' Seminar?

The AIAS Fellows' Seminar is a session of seminars held by the AIAS fellows or by other speakers proposed by the fellows. In each seminar, one fellow will present and discuss his/her current research and research project, closing off with a question and discussion session.

All seminars are held in English and open to the public. Registration to the seminar is not necessary. Read more about the AIAS Fellows' Seminar here.