Project is completed (PhD 2013-2018)
An encounter with personal possessions in everyday life, such as souvenirs, jewellery, or digital photos, may bring the past back to mind. Sometimes this is a quick and fleeting memory, other times it brings back vivid memories and emotional responses. Through three qualitative studies this PhD investigated personal possessions as cues: The cued responses personal possessions evoke, how the item-memories relationship evolves, and what characteristics of items facilitate cued remembering. An understanding of this process could facilitate the design of personal items or applications for cuing memories, for example in the field of Human-Computer Interaction.
The research revealed that cuing with personal possessions can result in a variety of outcomes, which were not always episodic memories. In addition, over time, cued responses can change (although the majority stayed the same) and we gained an understanding of what caused these changes. Features of the items used as cues, such as details or traces, can also act as cues. Particular types of traces, such as those resulting from age and use, were found to relate to memories and to an item’s imagined history. The findings showed the dynamic nature of the item-memories relationship, and the ways in which cuing can be facilitated or hampered.
Annemarie was in a joint PhD program with the University of Technology Sydney and Eindhoven University of Technology and defended her PhD on 16 October 2018 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Videos and images
Who are involved
Materialising Memories group
Faculty of Engineering and IT
University of Technology Sydney
Building 11, Level 7, Room 217
81-115 Broadway (postal address: PO Box 123)
Broadway NSW 2007
Future Everyday group
Department of Industrial Design
Eindhoven University of Technology
La Place building, Level 1, Room 94 (LG 1.94)
Laplace 32 (postal address: De Rondom 70)
5612 AP, Eindhoven
Data and other documents
- Thesis: Personal Possessions as Cues for Autobiographical Remembering
- Journal paper: A qualitative exploration of memory cuing by personal items in the home
- Conference paper: Preserving objects, preserving memories: Repair professionals and object owners on the relation between traces on personal possessions and memories
- Conference paper: Companions: Objects accruing Value and Memories by being a Part of our Lives