Memory & Cognition

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 752–762 | Cite as

On the formation of collective memories: The role of a dominant narrator

  • Alexandru Cuc
  • Yasuhiro Ozuru
  • David Manier
  • William Hirst
Article

Abstract

To test our hypothesis that conversations can contribute to the formation of collective memory, we asked participants to study stories and to recall them individually (pregroup recollection), then as a group (group recounting), and then once again individually (postgroup recollection}). One way that postgroup collective memories can be formed under these circumstances is if unshared pregroup recollections in the group recounting influences others’ postgroup recollections. In the present research, we explored (using tests of recall and recognition) whether the presence of a dominant narrator can facilitate the emergence of unshared pregroup recollections in a group recounting and whether this emergence is associated with changes in postgroup recollections. We argue that the formation of a collective memory through conversation is not inevitable but is limited by cognitive factors, such as conditions for social contagion, and by situational factors, such as the presence of a narrator.

References

  1. Asch, S. E. (1956). Studies of independence and conformity: A minority of one against a unanimous majority.Psychological Monographs,70(Whole No. 416).Google Scholar
  2. Bangerter, A. (2000). Identifying individual and collective acts of remembering in task-related communication.Discourse Processes,30, 237–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bangerter, A., von Cranach, M., &Arn, C. (1997). Collective remembering in the communicative regulation of group action: A functional approach.Journal of Language & Social Psychology,16, 365–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bar-Tal, D. (2000).Shared beliefs in a society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Basden, B. H., Basden, D. R., Bryner, S., &Thomas, R. L., III (1997). A comparison of group and individual remembering: Does collaboration disrupt retrieval strategies?Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,23, 1176–1191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Basden, B. H., Basden, D. R., &Henry, S. (2000). Cost and benefits of collaborative remembering.Applied Cognitive Psychology,14, 497–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Basden, B. H., Reysen, M. B., &Basden, D. R. (2002). Transmitting false memories in social groups.American Journal of Psychology,115, 211–231.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Belli, R. F. (1988). Color blend retrievals: Compromise memories or deliberate compromise responses?Memory & Cognition,16, 314–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Binet, A. (1900).La suggestibilité. Paris: Schleicher Freres.Google Scholar
  10. Coelho, P. (1993).The alchemist. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  11. Dritschel, B. H. (1991). Autobiographical memory in natural discourse: A methodological note.Applied Cognitive Psychology,5, 319–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Echterhoff, G., &Saar, M. (Eds.) (2002).Kontexte und Kulturen des Erinnerns. Konstanz: UVK.Google Scholar
  13. Fay, N., Garrod, S., &Carletta, J. (2000). Group discussion as interactive dialogue or as serial monologue: The influence of group size.Psychological Science,11, 481–486.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Fentress, J., &Wickham, C. (1992).Social memory. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  15. Fleiss, J. L. (1981).Statistical methods for rates and proportions. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. Gabbert, F., Memon, A., &Allan, K. (2003). Memory conformity: Can eyewitnesses influence each other’s memory for an event?Applied Cognitive Psychology,17, 533–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gladwell, M. (2002).The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. New York: Back Bay Books.Google Scholar
  18. Halbwachs, M. (1980).Collective memory. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  19. Hirst, W., &Manier, D. (1996). Social influences on remembering. In D. Rubin (Ed.),Remembering the past (pp. 271–290). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hirst, W., &Manier, D. (2002). The diverse forms of collective memory. In G. Echterhoff & M. Saar (Eds.),Kontexte und Kulturen des Erinnerns (pp. 75–102). Konstanz: UVK.Google Scholar
  21. Hirst, W., Manier, D., &Apetroaia, I. (1997). The social construction of the remembered self: Family recounting. In J. G. Snodgrass & R. L. Thompson (Eds.),The self across psychology (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 818, pp. 163–188). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  22. Jerome, J. K. (1900).Three men on the bummel. Bristol: Arrowsmith.Google Scholar
  23. Kashy, D. A., &Kenny, D. A. (2000). The analysis of data from dyads and groups. In H. T. Reis & C. M. Judd (Eds.),Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology (pp. 451–477). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kintsch, W. (1976). Memory for prose. In C. N. Cofer (Ed.),The structure of human memory (pp. 90–113). San Francisco: Freeman.Google Scholar
  25. Loftus, E. F. (1993). Made in memory: Distortion in memory after misleading communication. In D. L. Medin (Ed.),The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 30, pp. 187–215). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  26. Manier, D. (1997). Family remembering: Autobiographical remembering in the context of family conversations.Dissertation Abstracts International,58(5-B), 2688. (University Microfilms No. 9732474)Google Scholar
  27. Manier, D., Pinner, E., &Hirst, W. (1996). Conversational remembering. In D. Hermann, C. McEvoy, C. Hertzog, P. Hertel, & M. K. Johnson (Eds.),Basic and applied memory research: Practical applications (Vol. 2, pp. 269–286). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  28. McCann, C. D., &Higgins, R. (1992). Personal and contextual factors in communication: A review of the “communication game”. In G. R. Stein & K. Fiedler (Eds.),Language, interaction, and social cognition (pp. 144–172). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Meade, M. L., &Roediger, H. L., III (2002). Explorations in the social contagion of memory.Memory & Cognition,30, 995–1009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Middleton, D., &Edwards, D. (Eds.) (1990).Collective remembering. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Moreland, R. L., Argote, L., &Krishman, R. (1996). Socially shared cognition at work: Transactive memory and group performance. In J. L. Nye & A. M. Brower (Eds.), What’s social about social cognition? Research on socially shared cognition in small groups (pp. 57–86). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  32. Olick, J. K. (1999). Collective memory: The two cultures.Sociological Theory,7, 333–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Olick, J. K., &Robbins, J. (1998). Social memory studies: From “collective memory” to the historical sociology of mnemonic practices.Annual Review of Sociology,24, 105–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ozuru, Y., & Hirst, W. (2002, November). Conversational influence on recognition memory. Poster presented at 43rd Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Kansas City, MO.Google Scholar
  35. Pasupathi, M. (2001). The social construction of the personal past and its implications for adult development.Psychological Bulletin,127, 651–672.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Pennebaker, J. W., Paez, D., &Rime, B. (Eds.) (1997).Collective memory of political events. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  37. Roediger, H. L., III,Meade, M. L., &Bergman, E. T. (2001). Social contagion of memory.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,8, 365–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sherif, M. (1966).The psychology of social norms. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  39. Sperber, D. (1996).Explaining culture: A naturalistic approach. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  40. Stasser, G., Stewart, D. D., &Wittenbaum, G. M. (1995). Expert roles and information exchange during discussion: The importance of knowing who knows what.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,31, 244–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stasser, G., &Titus, W. (1987). Effects of information load and percentage of shared information on the dissemination of unshared information during group discussion.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,53, 81–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stewart, D. D., &Stasser, G. (1995). Expert role assignment and information sampling during collective recall and decision making.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,69, 619–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tindale, R. S., &Sheffey, S. (2002). Shared information, cognitive load, and group memory.Group Processes & Intergroup Relations,5, 5–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Todorov, A., Lalljee, M., &Hirst, W. (2000). Communication context, explanation, and social judgment.European Journal of Social Psychology,30, 199–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Walther, E., Bless, H., Strack, F., Rackstraw, P., Wagner, D., &Werth, L. (2002). Conformity effects in memory as a function of group size, dissenters and uncertainty.Applied Cognitive Psychology,16, 793–810.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wegner, D. (1986). Transactive memory: A contemporary analysis of the group mind. In B. Mullen & G. Goethals (Eds.),Theories of group behavior (pp. 185–208). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  47. Wegner, D., Erber, R., &Raymond, P. (1991). Transactive memory in close relationships.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,6, 923–929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Weldon, M. S. (2001). Remembering as a social process. In G. H. Bower (Ed.),The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 40, pp. 67–120). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  49. Weldon, M. S., &Bellinger, K. D. (1997). Collective memory: Collaborative and individual processes in remembering.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,23, 1160–1175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Weldon, M. S., Blair, C., &Huebsch, P. D. (2000). Group remembering: Does social loafing underlie collaborative inhibition?Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,6, 1568–1577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wertsch, J. (2002).Voices of collective remembering. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wilkes-Gibbs, D., & Kim, P. H. (1991, November). Discourse influences on memory for visual forms. Paper presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  53. Wittenbaum, G. M., &Park, E. S. (2001). The collective preference for shared information.Current Directions in Psychological Science,10, 70–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wittenbaum, G. M., &Stasser, G. (1996). Management of information in small groups. In J. L. Nye & A. M. Brower (Eds.),What’s social about social cognition? Social cognition research in small groups (pp. 3–28). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  55. Wright, D. B., Self, G., &Justice, C. (2000). Memory conformity: Exploring the misinformation effects when presented by another person.British Journal of Psychology,91, 189–202.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandru Cuc
    • 1
  • Yasuhiro Ozuru
    • 2
  • David Manier
    • 3
  • William Hirst
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Sciences, Farquhar College of Arts and SciencesNova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale
  2. 2.University of MemphisMemphis
  3. 3.City University of New YorkNew York
  4. 4.New School UniversityNew York

Personalised recommendations