What are autobiographical memories? Why do we need to remember events and experiences from our own lives? What makes us remember certain memories better than others? Are ¯ashbulb memories really ``special'' types of memory? Questions such as these and the issue of how and why we remember the events and experiences that form our own personal history have interested psychologists for many years. Aspects of everyday memory such as memory for places and faces, objects and actions, which will be discussed in later chapters, are components within this broader framework of personal history. Memory for personal experiences comprises many different kinds of speci®c memories that together form the fabric of daily life and are recorded in autobiographical memory. This chapter will address the function of autobiographical memory, how autobiographical memories are organised and retrieved from memory, the impact of the self on memory, ¯ashbulb memories and event characteristics of other memorable autobiographical events, and the fallibility of memory in the real world. However, before we begin to examine the nature of autobiographical memory in detail it is helpful to review a theoretical distinction that has guided research in this area over the past 30 years.