21 October 2011

Important new paper on conversational remembering in social and cognitive psychology

In the next issue of the Annual Review of Psychology (vol. 63, January 2012), “Remembering Conversations: The Social Sharing and Reshaping of Memories”, an excellent article by William Hirst and Gerald Echterhoff (available here)

The abstract begins:  “People constantly talk about past experiences. Burgeoning psychological research has examined the role of communication in remembering by placing rememberers in conversational settings. In reviewing this work, we first discuss the benefits of collaborative remembering (transactive memory and collaborative facilitation) and its costs (collaborative inhibition, information sampling biases, and audience tuning). We next examine how conversational remembering affects subsequent memory. Here, we address influences on listeners’ memory through social contagion, resistance to such influences, and then retrieval/reexposure effects on either speaker or listener, with a focus on retrieval-induced forgetting. Extending the perspective beyond single interactions, we consider work that has explored how the above effects can spread across networks of several individuals. We also explore how a speaker’s motive to form a shared reality with listeners can moderate conversational effects on memory. Finally, we discuss how these various conversational effects may promote the formation of collective memories.

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