Autobiographical Narrative

  • Andrea Smorti


The transition from autobiographical memory to autobiographical narrative is marked by a series of transformations. First of all, the emission of the voice transforms sensations and thoughts into sound waves that must be emitted one after the other. Then these sound waves are transformed into signs of the spoken language (words). Thought, so silent and syncretic, becomes more explicit when it is communicated because it takes on a public linguistic format. By becoming language, thought is divided into a more superficial aspect (the sign) and a deeper aspect (the meaning). All this allows a new awareness. In fact, to externalize one’s thought means being able to make one’s interiority communicable while respecting, at least to a certain extent, the needs of the world in which one lives. It is then necessary to pay attention to the choice of vocabulary, to the construction of sentences, to the use of rhetorical artifices, to the way of interacting by coordinating verbal and nonverbal communication, what one wants to say and how one wants to say it. When this language takes on a narrative structure and function, further transformations are imposed because the stories are endowed with properties and constraints to be respected if one wants to be understood and interesting to the interlocutor. Then, the existence of autobiographical genres allow people to use models to become inspired in order to be able to make their memories fully understandable to themselves and to others.


Voice Sign Meaning Externalization Narrative Linearization Autobiographical genre 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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