Collaboration and prospective memory: costs, benefits, and helpful processes for strangers and intimate couples
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 19:45 by Catherine A. Browning
In this thesis, I examined the effects of collaboration on prospective memory (PM) performance – remembering together to perform future intentions. Given the ubiquitous social nature of our daily lives, there has been a long tradition of examining the effects of collaboration on remembering the past. This field of research has shown that collaborating with others is not always beneficial; when collaborating, individuals typically do not perform to their potential, but instead demonstrate an effect known as collaborative inhibition. However, recent research has shown that certain groups –particularly intimate groups who use certain communication strategies – collaborate more effectively. This is consistent with transactive memory theory, which predicts that intimate groups, through communication, develop an efficient shared memory system over time. To date, little research has investigated the effect of collaborating with others on PM. Therefore, across a series of four chapters and five studies, I systematically examined the effects of collaboration on PM in groups that varied in intimacy and PM ability. I examined collaborative PM in strangers, intimate couples, and couples where one partner had an acquired brain injury. I used a well-established laboratory PM measure – Virtual Week – in order to achieve experimental control with a task designed to simulate PM in daily life. Using Virtual Week, I was also able to test whether collaboration differentially affected tasks of varying difficulty. I also focused on individual differences within collaborating couples and examined communication processes during collaborative PM to determine what differentiates more successful, from less successful collaborators. Using findings from this qualitative analysis, I tested whether we can instruct groups to use strategies to improve collaborative PM performance, and whether these are better implemented on a group or an individual level. Overall, I aimed to bring together two fields of research and extend collaborative recall literature into the PM domain.