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  • Friday, June 17, 2016
  • 0706-000349 BEING ONESELF IN THE OTHER GENDER : CROSS-GENDER IDENTIFICATION AND AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY

    June 21, 2016 9:45 AM - June 21, 2016 9:57 AM

    Water Studio

    • Eirini Rari, PhD ;
    • Thierry Gallarda, MD ;
    • Laurie Compère ;
    • Sebastien Machefaux, MD ;
    • Sandrine Coussinoux, MPsych ;
    • Marie-Odile Krebs, PhD ;
    • Pascale Piolino, PhD

    Purpose

    Autobiographical memory consists of a set of auto-referential information (personal knowledge and memories) that allows an individual to define herself, being at the basis of the feeling of identity. Identity is (re-)constructed in the course of life, but the importance and weight of certain memories to the establishment of the sense of self differs according to the age at which they have been coded. Moreover, at any given moment in life, autobiographical memory concerns the way one projects oneself in the past and in the future, and is reconstructed accordingly in order to maintain self-coherence. Given the paramount importance of autobiographical memories on a clinical and phenomenological basis (allowing for clinical finesse in the assessment of the degree and quality of gender dysphoria), the objective of this study is to determine which parameters of autobiographical memory underlie cross-gender identification, its stability through time and cohesiveness with the sense of self. Our goal is to gain a better understanding of the processes through which cross-gender identification is established and sustained over time and, conversely, how autobiographical memory is re-constructed and re-actualized as a function of gender identity, or how reference to gender identity permits to achieve continuity of the self in a cohesive and constructive way through time.

    Materials and Methods

    A preliminary comparative analysis of the data collected from 18 biological male (aged 19-31 yrs, m=25.65) and 18 biological female (aged 18-33 yrs, m=24.35) controls, 6 male-to-female (aged 18-25, m=21.86) and 7 female-to-male (aged 19-45 yrs, m=25.2) outpatients prior to hormonal therapy or sex reassignment surgery. Data includes systematized collection of demographic/clinical information, neuropsychological testing of memory functions, along with a modified version of an original experimental protocol that focuses on the episodic component of autobiographical memory (memories of specific personal events at different life periods, including contextual details such as the spatio-temporal and phenomenological context, TEMPau, Piolino et al, 2009). The degree at which these memories illustrated a masculine aspect and a feminine aspect of themselves was self-reported by the participants on a 0-5 scale. Data were cross-referenced with the GIDYQ-AA and BRSI scales, as well as an experimental implicit and explicit self-evaluation in the matter of gendered characteristics.

    Results

    We will present the main lines of convergence and divergence between the four populations in terms of gender identification and adhesion to gendered roles. We will compare these results with the parameters of autobiographical memory, in terms of differences observed in the specificity (episodicity) and temporality of the recalled memories, as well as their degree of accordance with gender identity. 

    Conclusion

    Up until now, studies have largely neglected the relationship between gender identity and memory; this is the first study to examine the properties of autobiographical memory in relation to cross-gender identification and gender dysphoria. This study will provide new avenues of reflection towards a finer adjustment and personalization of psychotherapeutic strategies to the different profiles of sex reassignment seekers, and eventually aims to reduce stigmatization of gender variance. 


    Category: Brain Research and Neuropsychology