International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society IJPS

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 125–141

Collective Memory from a Psychological Perspective


  • Alin Coman
    • The New School for Social Research
  • Adam D. Brown
    • Functional Neuroimaging LaboratoryWeill Medical College of Cornell University
  • Jonathan Koppel
    • The New School for Social Research
    • The New School for Social Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10767-009-9057-9

Cite this article as:
Coman, A., Brown, A.D., Koppel, J. et al. Int J Polit Cult Soc (2009) 22: 125. doi:10.1007/s10767-009-9057-9


The study of collective memory has burgeoned in the last 20 years, so much so that one can even detect a growing resistance to what some view as the imperialistic march of memory studies across the social sciences (e.g., Berliner 2005; Fabian 1999). Yet despite its clear advance, one area that has remained on the sidelines is psychology. On the one hand, this disinterest is surprising, since memory is of central concern to psychologists. On the other hand, the relative absence of the study of collective memory within the discipline of psychology seems to suit both psychology and other disciplines of the social sciences, for reasons that will be made clear. This paper explores how psychology might step from the sidelines and contribute meaningfully to discussions of collective memory. It reviews aspects of the small literature on the psychology of collective memory and connects this work to the larger scholarly community’s interest in collective memory.


Social contagion Memory restructuring Collective memory Collective forgetting

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009