A qualitative exploration of memory cuing by personal items in the home

SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Memory Studies, 2019
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We are surrounded by personal items that can trigger memories, such as photos, souvenirs, and heirlooms. Also during holidays, we collect items to remind us of the events, but not all bring back memories to the same extent. Therefore, we explored peoples’ responses to personal items related to a holiday, using the home tour interviewing method. Sixty-three accounts of cuing responses from nine home tours were analysed using thematic analysis. This resulted in four types of cuing responses: a) ‘no-memory’ responses, b) ‘know’ responses, c) ‘memory evoked think or feel’ responses, and d) ‘remember’ responses. For each of these cuing response categories, we looked into the types of items and their characteristics. Further, we found that some items can evoke multiple memories. The majority of the memories’ content refer to events close to the moment of acquiring the item.
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