Memory and Extreme Imagery

The survey of autobiographical memory (SAM) is used to assess your memory for past events. The goal of this research study is to find out whether different subtypes of memory might occur with different imagery extremes, aphantasia and hyperphantasia.

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The Survey of Autobiographical Memory (SAM)

The Survey of Autobiographical Memory (SAM) is used is used to assess your memory for past events. The SAM comprises items assessing self-reported episodic autobiographical, semantic, and spatial memory, as well as future prospection.

The following is not a diagnostic tool. The goal of this research study is to find out whether different subtypes of memory might occur with different imagery extremes, aphantasia and hyperphantasia.

Instructions: Please indicate how strongly you agree with each of the following statements.

Event Memory

The first questions concern your memory for past events from a specific time and place for which you were personally involved. Events are defined as occurring within a day or less. For example, a three-week vacation is not considered a specific event, but something that happened on one day during your vacation is considered a specific event.

The questions apply to events that happened at least 3-4 weeks ago (as opposed to something that happened just a few days ago). When answering, don’t think about just one event; rather, think about your general ability to remember specific past events.

1. Specific events are difficult for me to recall.*
2. When I remember events, I have a hard time determining the order of details in the event.*
3. When I remember events, in general I can recall objects that were in the environment.*
4. When I remember events, in general I can recall what I was wearing.*
5. I am highly confident in my ability to remember past events.*
6. When I remember events, I remember a lot of details.*
7. When I remember events, in general I can recall which day of the week it was.*
8. When I remember events, in general I can recall people, what they looked like, or what they were wearing.*

Factual Memory

These questions concern your memory for facts, rather than specific events.

1. I can learn and repeat facts easily, even if I don’t remember where I learned them.*
2. After I have read a novel or newspaper, I forget the facts after a few days.*
3. After I have met someone once, I easily remember his or her name.*
4. I can easily remember the names of famous people (sports figures, politicians, celebrities).*
5. I have a hard time remembering information I have learned at school or work.*
6. I am very good at remembering information about people that I know (e.g., the names of a co-worker’s children, their personalities, places friends have visited etc.).*

Spatial Memory

These questions deal with your spatial memory (i.e., your ability to orient yourself in new or old environments).

1. In general, my ability to navigate is better than most of my family/friends.*
2. After I have visited an area, it is easy for me to find my way around the second time I visit.*
3. I have a hard time judging the distance (e.g., in meters or kilometers) between familiar landmarks.*
4. I get lost easily, even in familiar areas.*
5. If my route to work or school was blocked, I could easily find the next fastest way to get there.*
6. I use specific landmarks for navigating.*

Future Memory

The final questions relate to your imagination of future events that are specific in time and place and involve yourself (an event that has not yet taken place, such as a particular day on the beach at your upcoming vacation).

1. When I imagine an event in the future, the event generates vivid mental images that are specific in time and place.*
2. When I imagine an event in the future, I can picture the spatial layout.*
3. When I imagine an event in the future, I can picture people and what they look like.*
4. When I imagine an event in the future, I can imagine how I may feel.*
5. When I imagine an event in the future, I can picture images (e.g. people, objects, etc.).*
6. I have a difficult time imagining specific events in the future.*
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Palombo, D. J., Williams, L. J., Abdi, H., & Levine, B. (2013). The survey of autobiographical memory (SAM): a novel measure of trait mnemonics in everyday life. Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior, 49(6), 1526–1540. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2012.08.023