Formation of Collective Memories through Group Conversations: Examining the Involvement of the "Post-Event Misinformation Effect"

Yasuhiro Ozuru


The term "collective memories" refers to memories shared within a given group of people. It is hypothesized that one of the ways in which memory acquire "collectivity" is through "post-event misinformation effect" (Loftus, 1975) of group conversation. In an experiment testing this hypothesis, individuals from eight four-member groups read stories containing conflicting information. Following a group recounting on the next day, they performed individual free-recall and forced-choice recognition consisting of the four alternatives appearing in the four different versions of the stories (e.g., Camel, Marlboro, Winston, and Parliament). Subjects were more likely to falsely recognize as well as recall other members' version when it was mentioned in the group recounting. The individuals who undertook the majority of the recounting, who were defined as Narrators, were more likely to insert their own versions into other member's subsequent recall and recognition. This advantage allowed the Narrator to shape the post-group individual memories.

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