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Collaborative memory: the role of closeness, cognitive need and strategies

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posted on 2022-03-29, 01:23 authored by Vana Webster
We remember with others frequently throughout our daily lives. Given how often we remember with others, it is important to understand how such collaboration influences memory performance. Laboratory studies typically find a counter intuitive phenomenon known as collaborative inhibition: collaborative groups recall less than the same number of individuals whose recall has been pooled (nominal groups). Collaborative groups, however,also typically produce fewer intrusions than nominal groups, and individuals who previously collaborated subsequently recall more than individuals who previously recalled alone. Despite having a good understanding of individual cognitive processes that may underlie these findings, we know less about conditions in which collaborative memory costs can be minimised and benefits maximised. In this thesis, I examine if closeness between group members, the cognitive need of group members, and explicit group memory strategies influence the amount recalled and the accuracy of what is recalled both during collaboration and following collaboration. A sense of closeness may make group members more sensitive and responsive to each other, reducing costs and increasing benefits of collaboration (Experiment 1). But this increased coordination may only be possible when they have shared knowledge and experiences (Experiment 2). Young adults also may be most likely to offer help to another person if they perceive that the other person requires memory assistance; for example, due to a temporary demand on the cognitive resources of one group member(Experiments 1 and 2). Finally, rather than leaving strategy development to chance, instructing dyads to explicitly agree on a strategy at retrieval (Experiment 3) or encoding (Experiment 4) may ensure all groups coordinate their recall. Contrary to my hypotheses I found that none of my manipulations changed the typical costs and benefits of collaboration. I discuss the implications of my findings for educational settings, workplaces, and remembering with our family and friends.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Experiment 1. Closeness, cognitive need and strategies: a laboratory examination of strangers' collaborative recall -- 3. Experiment 2. Closeness, cognitive need and strategies: a laboratory examination of romantic couples' and close friends' collaborative recall -- 4. Experiment 3. Getting on the same page: a laboratory experiment of explicit strategy agreement at retrieval on strangers' collaborative recall -- 5. Experiment 4. Starting on the same page: a laboratory examination of explicit strategy agreement at encoding on strangers' collaborative recall -- 6. General discussion -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 195-212

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Cognitive Science

Department, Centre or School

Department of Cognitive Science

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Amanda Barnier


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