Situated authenticity in episodic memory

Roy Dings*, Christopher J. McCarroll, Albert Newen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A recalled memory is deemed authentic when it accurately represents how one experienced the original event. However, given the convincing research in cognitive science on the constructive nature of memory, this inevitably leads to the question of the ‘bounds of authenticity’. That is, how similar does a memory have to be to the original experience to still count as authentic? In this paper we propose a novel account of ‘Situated Authenticity’ which highlights that the norms of authenticity are context-dependent. In particular, we show that each of the three core functions of episodic memory (self, social and directive) is correlated with patterned changes in levels of conceptualization (e.g., concrete construal versus abstract construal of the event). We support this theoretical account with existing empirical data. We conclude the paper by showing how our account of Situated Authenticity supplements ongoing discussions on memory contextualism, and providing an outline of how our account, which is currently elaborated targeting a phenomenological level, may also be elaborated on a processing level using the concept of representational format.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Episodic memory
  • Functionality
  • Memory accuracy
  • Memory authenticity
  • Scenario construction


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