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The Development of Autobiographical Reasoning in Adolescence and Beyond. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, Number 131. J–B CAD Single Issue Child & Adolescent Development

  • ID: 2239433
  • Book
  • October 2011
  • 112 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Young people′s development of autobiographical reasoning represents the evolution of a biographical perspective that frames their individuality in terms of their specific developmental histories. Autobiographical reasoning relies on autobiographical memory, but goes beyond it by enhancing understanding through the active creation of coherence between events and the self. It has been studied in relation to numerous topics, including coping with life events, rumination, life review, narrative identity, and the development of the life story.

This volume contextualizes autobiographical reasoning in normative ideas about the life course or life script (Bohn), and in the cultural practice of reading fiction and poems (Mar, Peskin, & Fong). Autobiographical reasoning develops in adolescence, building on cognitive and narrative skills acquired in childhood. Although autobiographical reasoning is a cognitiive activity, it is often an integral part of narrating life experiences to significant others. Autobiographical reason is studies as a means for creating self–continuity. (Fivush, Bohanek, & Zaman), and to process one′s own and parents′ life experiences (McKeough & Malcolm). Althought autobiographical reasoning is an important ability in our culture, its contribution to an individual′s adaptation depends on contexts and personality, as well as on the quality of the reasoning process. (McLean & Mansfield).

This is the 131st volume of the Jossey–Bass quarterly report series New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development,. The mission of New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development is to provide scientific and scholarly presentations on cutting edge issues and concepts in the field of child and adolescent development. Each volume focuses on a specific "new direction" or research topic, and is edited by an expert or experts on that topic.

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1. Autobiographical Reasoning: Arguing and Narrating from a Biographical Perspective (
Tilmann Habermas)

Autobiographical reasoning establishes relations between different parts of one′s past, present, and future life and the self. The emergence of autobiographical reasoning in adolescence contributes to the development of personality and identity.

2. Normative Ideas of Life and Autobiographical Reasoning in Life Narratives (Annette Bohn)
Preadolescents learn the normative life script for their culture, which provides an essential structure for coherent life narratives and autobiographical reasoning in adolescence.

3. Integrating Self and Experience in Narrative as a Route to Adolescent Identity Construction (Monisha Pasupathi, Trisha L. Weeks)
Constructing subjective personal continuity is rendered possible in adolescence by the development of notions of self–event relationships. These are co–constructed in parent child co–narrations of past events.

4. Personal and Intergenerational Narratives in Relation to Adolescents′ Well–Being (Robyn Fivush, Jennifer G. Bohanek, Widaad Zaman)
Family conversations provide a socializing experience for adolescents to construct personal, family, and intergenerational stories. These conversations can be used for autobiographical reasoning and may contribute to well–being.

5. Stories of Family, Stories of Self: Developmental Pathways to Interpretive Thought During Adolescence (Anne McKeough, Jennifer Malcolm)
Cognitive development in adolescence promotes a growing ability to construct complex life stories, incorporating family stories told by parents, from which adolescents learn to extract moral and symbolic messages.

6. Literary Arts and the Development of the Life Story (Raymond A. Mar, Joan Peskin, Katrina Fong)
Reading fi ction and poetry is a typical adolescent activity that may contribute to the development of autobiographical reasoning. To date, the evidence is intriguing but inconclusive.

7. To Reason or Not to Reason: Is Autobiographical Reasoning Always Beneficial? (Kate C. McLean, Cade D. Mansfield)
Possible benefi cial effects from autobiographical reasoning may depend on an individual′s maturation level as well as on the content and social context in which it is used.


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Tilmann Habermas
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