The feeling of choosing: Self-involvement and the cognitive status of things past

Jasmin Cloutier, C. Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has demonstrated that self-involvement enhances the memorability of information (i.e., self > other) encountered in the past. The emergence of this effect, however, is dependent on guided evaluative processing and the explicit association of items with self. It remains to be seen, therefore, whether self-memory effects would emerge in task contexts characterized by incidental-encoding and minimal self-involvement. Integrating insights from work on source monitoring and action recognition, we hypothesized that the effects of self-involvement on memory function may be moderated by the extent to which encoding experiences entail volitional (i.e., choice-based) processing. The results of three experiments supported this prediction. Despite the adoption of an incidental task context and stimulus materials that were inconsequential to participants, the act of selection enhanced the memorability and accessibility of information. The implications of these findings for contemporary treatments of self are considered. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number1
Early online date3 Jul 2007
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • self
  • incidental memory
  • choice
  • memory
  • perception
  • neuroscience
  • recognition
  • movements
  • options
  • bias
  • cue
  • age


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