Social contagion of memory and the role of relative judgments
Hart, Katherine Morgan
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The current experiments examined the role of spontaneous relative judgments of self and participant memory within the social contagion of memory paradigm (Roediger, Meade, & Bergman, 2001). Participants viewed household scenes in collaboration with a confederate who falsely recalled incorrect items as having occurred in the scenes. The perceived memory ability of the confederate was manipulated during a practice scene to imply poor, average, or superior memory. Participant self-memory was manipulated by varying presentation rate to create short (poor) relative to long (good) encoding conditions. Importantly, the participants were never explicitly informed by the experimenter about either their own memory ability or the memory ability of the confederate. Of interest was whether or not participants would evaluate both the state of their own memory and the state of the confederate memory in relation to one another when remembering suggested information. On subsequent recall and recognition tests, participants were more likely to incorporate confederate suggestions when their own memory was poor, and this was especially true when the confederate's memory was superior. Participants do make spontaneous, relative judgments of memory when working with others on a memory test.