The Role of Need Satisfaction as a Distinct and Basic Psychological Component of Autobiographical Memories: A Look at Well-Being


  • This research was supported by doctoral fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to Frederick L. Philippe and Genevieve Beaulieu-Pelletier and by a research grant from the same agency to Richard Koestner.

concerning this article should be addressed to Frederick L. Philippe, Psychology Department, University of Quebec at Montreal, P.O Box 8888 Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3C 3P8. Email:


ABSTRACT The purpose of the present research was to show that satisfaction of the psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness constitutes a basic component characterizing autobiographical memories. In Study 1, a coding scheme and a self-rating method for measuring need satisfaction in memories were developed and shown to be highly related to each other. Across 3 studies using graduate and undergraduate students (Study 1: N=244; Study 2: N=309; Study 3: N=159), need satisfaction was found to be moderately associated with well-being measures, over and above several other memory components usually assessed in research on autobiographical memories. In addition, this association between need satisfaction in autobiographical memories and well-being held, even after controlling for person-level measures, such as personality traits, self-determined orientation, or experience of need satisfaction in general in one's life, thus suggesting that autobiographical memory and semantic self-knowledge are distinct databases.