The Role of group configuration in the social transmission of memory: evidence from identical and reconfigured groups

Hae-Yoon Choi, Helena M. Blumen, Adam R. Congleton, Suparna Rajaram

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    39 Citations (Scopus)


    Collaborating with others during recall shapes both group and individual memories. Individuals contribute less when recalling in groups than when recalling alone, a phenomenon called collaborative inhibition. In contrast, collaboration improves post-collaborative individual memory by providing re-exposure to information that would have been otherwise forgotten. Collaboration also influences collective memory-the overlap in post-collaborative memory among group members. We examined the role of group configuration on such transmission of memory by varying group configuration across repeated recalls. Participants (N = 162) studied words and completed three recall sessions in one of three conditions (N = 54/condition): Individual-Individual-Individual (Control), Collaborative-Collaborative (Identical group)-Individual and Collaborative-Collaborative (Reconfigured group)-Individual. Collaborative inhibition occurred in both the Identical and Reconfigured groups during the first recall but disappeared in the Reconfigured groups during the second recall. Post-collaborative individual memory was greater following Reconfigured than Identical group collaboration. This pattern reversed for collective memories; repeated collaboration increased overlap in the remembered and forgotten items in Identical groups compared to Reconfigured groups. Finally, Reconfigured groups provided a quantifiable index of the influence of distal partners (i.e., no direct collaboration involved) on post-collaborative individual memory. We conclude that group configuration has powerful consequences on the amount, the similarity and the variety of memory representations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)65-80
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Collaborative inhibition
    • Collaborative memory
    • Collective memory
    • Proximal-distal partners
    • Reconfigured groups
    • Social transmission of memory
    • Social transmission of memory.


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