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Only in recent years have efforts to illuminate antecedents, processes, and consequences of social influence on memory intensified. This special issue presents current research that makes further progress in this endeavor, promoting a more integrated understanding of the social dimensions of memory. In the following we briefly trace the development and main findings of related research at the interface of memory and social psychology and outline the contributions of the six papers collected in this issue. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
G. Echterhoff& W.Hirst: Guest EditorialSocialPsychology2009; Vol. 40(3):106–110© 2009HogrefePublishing
Guest Editorial
Social Influence on Memory
Gerald Echterhoff1and William Hirst2(Guest Editors)
1Jacobs University Bremen, Germany, 2New School for Social Research, New York, USA
Human memory does not record and store information like
technical devices. Rather, memory can deviate in various
ways from the original experience of an event. It is fragile
and potentially unreliable. Some deviations from the orig-
inal experience can be attributed to forgetting or trace de-
cay, while other deviations reflect systematic biases and
distortions (e.g., McDermott & Chan, 2003; Schacter,
1999). According to a view that has been prominent since
the 1970s, memories are dynamic and temporary construc-
tions that are profoundly shaped by a host of factors like
the rememberers’ cognitive schemata, attitudes, and envi-
ronmental conditions (see, e.g., Conway & Pleydell-
Pearce, 2000). An important source of environmental in-
fluences is contact and exchange with other people. Sur-
prisingly, memory researchers have, for a long time now,
paid little attention to such social influences on memory,
while social psychologists have almost exclusively focused
on attitude, judgment, and behavior rather than memory as
the object of social influence. Investigations of whether and
how memories can be biased through contact with others
have clearly played the second fiddle in influence research
conducted in social psychology (see Bless, Strack, & Wal-
ther, 2001).Testifying to this deficit, Roediger and McDer-
mott (2000) concluded the following in a chapter of a ref-
erence handbook on memory research:
“One area of inquiry that has received little investigation thus
far is the influence that social factors can impose upon the
memory of an individual.” (p. 157)
Only in recent years have efforts to illuminate antecedents,
processes, and consequences of social influence on mem-
ory intensified. This special issue presents current research
that makes further progress in this endeavor, promoting a
more integrated understanding of the social dimensions of
memory. In the following we briefly trace the development
and main findings of related research at the interface of
memory and social psychology and outline the contribu-
tions of the six papers collected in this issue.
Seminal investigations of biasing influences on memory
were conducted by Loftus and colleagues in the 1970s (e.g.,
Loftus, Miller, & Burns, 1975; for reviews see Loftus,
1979, 2005). Their research demonstrated that eyewitness-
es can be led to remember false information about an event
that is conveyed to them by subtle means, such as presup-
positions in questions about a witnessed event. However,
in these and many subsequent studies, the source of the
biasing information was merely implicitly present, presum-
ably being the experimenter or researcher. In recent years
researchers have extended the approach to include other
social sources of biasing information, for instance,another
participant (Gabbert, Memon, & Allan, 2003; Wright, Self,
& Justice, 2000) or a confederate of the experimenter
(Meade & Roediger, 2002; Reysen, 2005; Roediger,
Meade, & Bergman, 2001). In these studies the biasing so-
cial sources are physically present and interact with the to-
be-influenced participant, thus allowing the investigation
of social influence in more realistic conversational settings
than was afforded by the earlier approaches. This body of
research has focused on how a speaker may implant biasing
information in a listener or replace information already ex-
isting in the listener’s mind with new information. The typ-
ical structure of social influence in these studies is dyadic,
and unilateral communication about the past in which bi-
asing information from a source is transmitted to an indi-
vidual recipient, who is the target of influence.
Related research has been concerned with how com-
munication about the past in small groups shapes
memory (e.g., Basden, Basden, Bryner, & Thomas,1997;
Weldon & Bellinger, 1997). The typical arena of social
influence in these studies involves multilateral commu-
nication about past experiences between more than two
people, who can be both transmitters and recipients of
information. Regarding quantitative performance it was
found that the recall of actual groups is often worse than
the recall of so-called nominal groups, i.e., the pooled
recall performance of individual group members remem-
bering material separately (Weldon & Bellinger, 1997).
This effect was labeled collaborative inhibition.Ithas
been debated whether this inhibition might be due to so-
cial loafing, i.e., reduced performance motivation of in-
dividuals given the presence of other group members (see
Weldon, Blair, & Huebsch, 2000), or the disruption of
individual retrieval strategies during group remembering
DOI 10.1027/1864-9335.40.3.106
Social Psychology 2009; Vol. 40(3):106–110 © 2009 Hogrefe Publishing
(e.g., Basden et al., 1997). While this line of research has
focused on the quantity of group recall, other studies
have looked at how the quality of group members’ mem-
ories is affected by remembering in a group setting, with
special interest in whether and how group members may
develop false memories for an original input experience.
One way in which group remembering may lead to false
memories is social contagion (for evidence in dyads, see
Roediger et al., 2001), i.e., the spread of a piece of mis-
information about an experience from one or more group
members to the others (e.g., Basden, Basden, Thomas &
Souphasith, 1998; Cuc, Manier, Ozuru, & Hirst, 2006;
Hirst, Manier, & Apetroaia, 1997; Muller & Hirst, in
For researchers interested in influence from social
sources it is important to understand how the perception
of the source moderates its impacts on a recipient, be it
in dyadic or group situations. The study of the role that
the perception of the source plays in such processes is
indeed an interface par excellence between social and
memory psychology. As traditional research on persua-
sive communication in social psychology suggests (e.g.,
Hovland & Weiss, 1951), the impact oftransmitted infor-
mation on a recipient should depend on the perceived
credibility or trustworthiness of a social source. Indeed,
studies have found that the influence of misinformation
on recipients’ memory is reduced when the information
is provided by an apparently low-credibility (vs. high-
credibility) source, both when credibility is manipulated
before (Dodd & Bradshaw, 1980; Smith & Ellsworth,
1987; Underwood & Pezdek, 1998) or after the delivery
of misinformation (Chambers & Zaragoza, 2001; Echter-
hoff, Hirst, & Hussy, 2005; Echterhoff, Groll, & Hirst,
2007; Highhouse & Bottrill,1995). Evidence suggestsan
important precondition of successful resistance against
influence from a misinformationsource in the lattercase,
i.e., when recipients learn about the low credibility of a
source after the encoding of biasing information. Social
contagion or misinformation influence can be reduced to
the extent that recipients can attribute potential event in-
formation correctly to the source at the time of remem-
bering (Echterhoff, Hirst, & Hussy, 2005; Echterhoff et
al., 2007)
Two papers in this special issue examine the role of
group members’ characteristics in the influence of joint
remembering in small groups. One important way by
which these papers make a novel contribution to thefield
is the integration of source features into the research on
effects of group memory. Brown, Coman, and Hirst focus
on two characteristics of a group member in shaping oth-
er group members’ memories: the group member’s per-
ceived expertise and thedegree to which she or headopts
the role of a narrator in the group, thus dominating the
conversation about to-be-remembered material. Their
findings show that expertise and narratorship indepen-
dently allow a group member to influence the other mem-
bers’ memory. Peker and Tekcan investigate the role of
familiarity among group members on collaborative inhi-
bition and social contagion, thus addressing both quanti-
tative and qualitative aspects of group remembering. The
standard collaborative inhibition effect is found in joint
recall of both friend and nonfriend groups; however,
groups of nonfriends outperform nominal groups in a
subsequent recognition test, suggesting that groups can
benefit in the long run from initial joint recall. Social con-
tagion is more pronounced in groups of friends, perhaps
because of greater reliance of group members on each
other’s memory.
Focusing on traditionally social-psychological phe-
nomena, Vernet, Vala, Amâncio, and Butera examine the
extent to which socially relevant attitudes depend on ex-
plicit source memory. The authors argue that a societal
value (here, women’s rights) is often dissociated from the
source (here, the feminist movement) that oncepromoted
it. Their findings indicate that the rejection of the femi-
nist minority (as well as hostile sexism) can be reduced
by reminding people about the source of that commonly
shared value, i.e., by a reassociation between a political
program and its source. Apparently, the reassociation
with a valued political position can benefit the perception
of the source – but only if the dissociation is blamed on
mere forgetting rather than on outright discrimination.
This approach, thus, reveals the potential significance of
source memory in a broader socio-political context.
All the effects outlined so far are instances of “classical”
social influence such as persuasion or conformity which
have been demonstrated long ago by social psychologists
(e.g., Asch, 1956; Deutsch & Gerard, 1955; Sherif, 1935;
for reviews, see Cialdini & Trost, 1998; Wood, 2000). A
plethora of social influence studies in social psychology
has revealed that people’s attitudes, judgments, or behav-
iors may change as a result of other people’s communica-
tion or responses to a situation. For instance, it has been
shown that people’s judgmentsconcerning a variety of ob-
jects, ranging from simple physical stimuli to complex so-
cial issues, can be affected by what other people say about
the object. In classical social influence, the information that
can potentially exert biasing effects on a target individual
emanates from other social agents. Thus, the potentially
biasing information is produced by others in the social en-
vironment of the person who is ultimately influenced.
Analogous to these studies of classical social influence, the
above approaches showed that a person’s memory for a
target event can be shaped by information communicated
by others about the event (for a discussion of the analogy,
see Bless et al., 2001).
Adopting a focus different from that of classical influ-
ence research, researchers have examined how the com-
munication of experiences can affect the speakers’ own
memory for the experience (Adaval & Wyer, 2004; Ech-
terhoff, Higgins & Groll, 2005; Echterhoff, Higgins, Ko-
pietz, & Groll, 2008; Tversky & Marsh, 2000; for re-
views see Chiu, Krauss, & Lau, 1998; Echterhoff, Hig-
G. Echterhoff & W. Hirst: Guest Editorial 107
© 2009 Hogrefe Publishing Social Psychology 2009; Vol. 40(3):106–110
gins, & Levine, in press; Marsh, 2007). In this case, the
biasing information is produced by the person who is ul-
timately influenced, not by other social agents. Com-
pared to the influence of speaker on listener, this type of
creating shared memories in conversation has received
less attention by researchers (also see Hirst & Echterhoff,
2008). The idea that speakers’ memory for experiences
can be biased by their own communication about these
experiences is arguably less prominent in people’s intu-
itions or lay theories about memory than is the notion that
speakers may bias others’ (i.e., recipients’ or listeners’)
memory. People may suspect being unduly influenced
when another person provides her or his version of a
jointly experienced event. In contrast, they may not sus-
pect that their own talking about the past may exert un-
wanted influences.
Two papers in this special issue by Kopietz, Echter-
hoff, Niemeier, Hellmann, and Memon and by Echterhoff,
Lang, Krämer, and Higgins examine when and how com-
municators’ memory is influenced by audience tuning,
that is, communication tailored to the audience’s perspec-
tive or attitude regarding the topic. To explain the occur-
rence of audience-tuning effects on memory, they draw
on shared reality theory (Echterhoff et al., in press; Har-
din & Higgins, 1996). Partly because of their origin in
early social cognition research (Higgins & Rholes, 1978;
also see Higgins, Rholes, & Jones, 1977), existing studies
of audience-tuning effects have focused on memory and
judgment regarding a target person, based on ambiguous
verbal input material that communicators describe to
their audience. Kopietz and colleagues extend the ap-
proach to eyewitnesses’ retellings of an incident to a co-
witness, employing complex visual input material, that
is, video-filmed behaviors of target persons. In their
study, student participants tune their retelling of a wit-
nessed incident to their audience’s evaluation of the sus-
pects in the incident. It is found that participants’ own
memories and judgments regarding the incident are more
biased toward their audience when they are more (vs.
less) motivated to create a shared view with a particular
audience (a student with a similar vs. dissimilar academic
Returning to audience-tuning effects on memory for a
target person, Echterhoff and colleagues examine, in the
context of personnel assessment in an organization, the
role of audience characteristics. Student communicators
described an employee to either an equal-status audience
(a student temp) or a higher-status audience (a company
board member). Although audience tuning is found in
both conditions, it biases communicators’ memory only
in the equal-status condition. The authors argue that the
equal-status audience, while lacking domain-specific ex-
pertise, is perceived as a more trustworthy partner for cre-
ating a shared reality.
The concluding contribution to the special issue is a
theoretical paper by Blank, who proposes a framework
for an integration of approaches from memory and social
psychology. According to this framework, memory re-
trieval involves two stages: the conversion of accessed
memory information into memory beliefs (validation
stage) and the subsequent generation of memory state-
ments (communication stage). Drawing on a common so-
cial-psychological distinction between different types of
influence, Blank argues that social influence at the first
stage is primarily informational, while social influence at
the second stage is predominantly normative.
Beyond the specific insights into different types of social
influence on memory, this special issue is also intended
to reveal implications of this line of research that reach
beyond the confines of memory phenomena. As the work
on shared reality indicates, only by understanding the
complex dynamics by which communication reshapes
the memories of speaker and listener can psychologists
begin to appreciate how social interactions aid in the in-
tersubjective construction and experience of what is real
and meaningful (see Echterhoff et al., in press). More-
over, as scholars have dug deeper into the influence so-
cial interactions have on memory, they have also begun
to explore how communities can come to remember the
past in similar ways. The new – and growing – interest
in a psychology of collective memory arises in part out
of the awareness that collective memories ground collec-
tive identities. The study of social influences on memory
offers tools for researchers for investigating how the
mechanisms of individual memories can shape some-
thing as socially encrusted as collective memory and
identity (Hirst & Manier, 2008). Given these broader per-
spectives, the present papers could contribute to a larger
effort to understand the role individual memory plays in
fundamentally social phenomena such as the interperson-
al construction of reality, knowledge, and identity.
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Gerald Echterhoff
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Jacobs University Bremen
P.O. Box 750 561
D-28725 Bremen
Tel. +49 421 200-3421
Fax +49 421 200-3303
110 G. Echterhoff & W. Hirst: Guest Editorial
Social Psychology 2009; Vol. 40(3):106–110 © 2009 Hogrefe Publishing
... Given such a phenomenon of high prevalence, considerable efforts have been dedicated in recent decades to empirically exploring how memory processes are distorted by a variety of factors. In addition to factors associated with features intrinsic to memory tasks, the available literature suggests that memory processes are sensitive to social contexts in which memory processes occur (Barnier, Sutton, Harris, & Wilson, 2008;Bless, Strack, & Walther, 2001;Bookbinder & Brainerd, 2016;Echterhoff & Hirst, 2009;Newbury & Monaghan, 2019;Weldon, 2000;Wyer & Srull, 1986), even though substantially less research has focused on addressing this issue. ...
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Memory is highly susceptible to distortions, which can exert serious consequences in daily life. Despite this, we still know little about the role of factors that comprise social contexts in which memory processes occur. In the present study, we attempted to address this issue by examining how social competition influences true and false recognition. Participants performed a version of the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm designed to lure them into producing both true and false recognition either in competition against or independently of another person. We found that participants in the competition group showed lower levels of true and false recognition than those in the control group. Signal-detection analyses revealed that participants in both groups showed equivalent memory sensitivity for true recognition, while those in the competition group exhibited a decreased sensitivity for false recognition, which implies enhanced item-specific encoding during social competition. Moreover, participants in the competition group showed a more conservative response bias for both true and false recognition at retrieval than those in the control group, indicating a shift towards conservatism in decision strategy for both true and false recognition during social competition. The results provide compelling evidence for a decision-based reduction of true recognition and both encoding-based and decision-based reductions of false recognition under competitive contexts. Therefore, these novel findings may have implications both for understanding the powerful role of social competition on true and false memories and for understanding the potential role of social competition on other aspects of memory processes.
... Ugyan a flow-élmény átélésének gyakoriságai és különböző dimenziói nak intenzitása csak nagyon kis százalékban magyarázzák az élettel való elégedettség varianciáját, az eredmények támogatják a korábbi elképzelése ket az összefüggésekről (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993;Sahoo & Sahu, 2009;Vittersø, 2003), továbbá az élmény társas helyzetben való átélésének feltéte lezett hatásával egészítik ki. Az élettel való elégedettség a szubjektív jóllét kognitív komponense, az interakciós helyzetben tapasztalt flow az emléke zet számára hozzáférhetőbb lehet a társas aspektus mint plusz környezeti információ miatt (Echterhoff & Hirst, 2009), így a szubjektív beszámolókban is intenzívebb hatásúként jelenhet meg. Mivel a flow-élmény inkább a szub jektív jóllét érzelmi, semmint kognitív aspektusához köthető, így az ala csony, de szignifikáns predikciós erő illeszkedik a korábbi eredményekhez (Fritz & Avsec, 2007). ...
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Elméleti háttér: A flow a jóllét növelésének egyik eszköze is lehet, aktivitáselméletként a viselkedés pozitív következményeire, növekedéshez való hozzájárulására épít. Cél : A társas helyzetben tapasztalt áramlat-élmény összefüggéseit a jóllét különböző dimenzióival – élettel való elégedettség és pszichológiai jóllét – ezidáig nem vizsgálták, holott a társas kapcsolatok jóllétet növelő szerepét több koncepció hangsúlyozza. Jelen kutatás célja ezen összefüggés igazolása. A társas flow gyakoriságát, intenzitását, valamint a flow szinkronizáció tényezőinek hatását vizsgáljuk. Módszerek: 1060 fő, 18 éven felüli vizsgálati személy, életkor: M(SD) = 26,67(10,76) év, vett részt az online kérdőíves módszerrel lebonyolított keresztmetszeti kutatásunkban. A kérdőíveket anonim módon töltötték ki: Általános Flow Leírás, Általános Flow Leírás Társas Interakciókban, Flow Állapot Kérdőív, Flow Szinkronizáció Kérdőív, Élettel Való Elégedettség Skála és Pszichológiai Jóllét Skálák. Eredmények: A hierarchikus lineáris regresszióanalízis alapján elmondható, hogy a társas helyzetben átélt flow-élmény gyakorisága ( ß = 0,07; p = 0,038) és intenzitása ( ß = 0,08; p = 0,039) az élettel való elégedettség szignifikáns, kismértékű magyarázó tényezője. Az egyéni helyzetben átélt flow gyakorisága ( ß = 0,10; p = 0,002) és a társas helyzetben tapasztalt optimális élményhez kapcsolódó szinkronizációs tényezők (az együttműködő, flow-t indukáló helyzet interakciós jellemzői) ( ß = 0,15; p < 0,001) szintén szignifikáns meghatározói a pszichológiai jóllétnek. Köuetkeztetések: Eredményeink alapján valószínűsíthető, hogy a flow-élmény társas helyzetben hozzájárul a jóllét különböző aspektusaihoz, átélési gyakorisága, intenzitása, valamint az interakcióból fakadó szinkronizációs dimenziók támogatják a jóllét magasabb szintjének elérését.
... Accessible knowledge is the basis for many other cognitive processes, such as the formation of judgments, beliefs and attitudes (Wyer & Srull, 1989). Hence, the audience-tuning memory bias reflects a profound influence on how communicators construct their social reality (see Echterhoff & Hirst, 2009). Below we discuss findings illuminating the principles and processes underlying this form of shared reality. ...
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Humans are profoundly motivated to create with others shared realities about the world—shared relevance, shared feelings, shared judgments. This motivation includes a special kind of motivated connection to others (i.e., sharing the truth about the world with others as our significant others, fellow community members, teammates, and companions), and a special kind of motivated cognition (i.e., perceived reality or truth about the world that is shared with others). Motivated connection and motivated cognition are synergistic within shared reality because experiencing with others our truth about the world (perceived reality) contributes to our experience of connection with them, and having others verify or co-construct our experience of the world (sharing the experience) transforms that experience from being subjective to being objective, thereby becoming the truth. In this chapter, we discuss these basic principles of shared reality and present evidence for how they function. We also present evidence for how the motivated connection and the motivated cognition in shared reality have both benefits and costs for self-regulation and social regulation, as reflected in our judgments and memory, opinions, close relationships, and intergroup relations—the shared reality trade-offs of being human.
... Our goal here, however, is not to provide an exhaustive review of all the relevant research. Such endeavors have been done successfully elsewhere (see Abel, Umanath, Wertsch, & Roediger, 2018;Coman, Brown, Koppel, & Hirst, 2009;Echterhoff & Hirst, 2009;Fagin, Cyr, & Hirst, 2015;Fagin, Yamashiro, & Hirst, 2013;Hirst & Echterhoff, 2008Hirst & Manier, 2008;Hirst & Stone, 2015a;Hirst & Stone, 2015b;Hirst, Yamashiro, & Coman, 2018;Roediger & Abel, 2015;Stone, Coman, Brown, Koppel, & Hirst, 2012;Wertsch & Roediger, 2008, for reviews; see also Hoskins, 2016). Rather, we will first provide an overview of the state of the art of social and collective memory research that psychologists have conducted utilizing Hirst and Manier's (2008) epidemiological approach to collective memory as our framework. ...
Throughout much of the 20th century, psychologists have largely examined mnemonic processes through an individualistic lens at the expense of social influences (see Danziger, 2009 for a review). However, this perspective began to change toward the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, thanks in large part to the work of Bartlett (1933/1995), Neisser (1976), Tulving (Tulving & Thomson, 1973), and Vygotsky and Luria (1994), when psychologists began to better appreciate the social nature of remembering. In the present paper, we focus on a relatively recent and important evolution of this line of research: the emergence of a psychological approach to collective memory. Using Hirst & Manier's (2008) epidemiological approach to collective memory, we attempt to distil the extant and relevant psychological research and focus on how (collective) memories transmit, converge, and remain stable over time while considering the bi‐directional relationship between collective memory and a mnemonic community's (Zarubavel, 1996) identity. We conclude with a discussion of research areas psychologists should examine moving forward, which will ultimately provide a more holistic understanding of how collective memories emerge, remain stable and/or change over time.
... Accounts emphasizing the social nature of our representations of reality have been around for decades in psychology and the social sciences (e.g. [19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36]). Compared to this long history, explicit theorizing about shared reality per se is relatively young. ...
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To provide background for the Special Issue on shared reality, we outline the construct of shared reality and underlying mechanisms. Shared reality is the experience of having in common with others inner states about the world. Inner states include the perceived relevance of something, as well as feelings, beliefs, or evaluations of something. The experience of having such inner states in common with others fosters the perceived truth of those inner states. Humans are profoundly motivated to create shared realities with others, and in so doing they fulfill their needs to have valid beliefs about the world and to connect with others.
... Es del sujeto que recuerda, y a las condiciones contextuales. dentro de este último conjunto de trabajos donde Dentro de estas últimas, el contacto con los otras ubicamos el presente estudio, en donde lo que personas es uno de los factores más destacados enfatizamos es la manera en que la conversación y sus (Echterhoff & Hirst, 2009). Pero es sólo recientemente dinámicas internas sirve como medio para aumentar o que este tipo de influencia social comienza a ser atenuar la propagación del contagio social. ...
El estudio realizado indagó acerca de las condiciones que propician la efectividad de los Narradores confiables y no confiables en generar recuerdos compartidos por medio de un recupero conversacional. Estudiamos la capacidad de estos Narradores para imponer sus recuerdos sobre los demás participantes, atendiendo además a los niveles de convergencia logrados y a la capacidad moderadora que tienen las discusiones sobre el contagio social. Para ello, se diseñó un experimento que constaba de tres fases: El día 1, los participantes escucharon historias (cada sujeto escuchó una versión levemente modificada) y desarrollaron un recuerdo libre, individual y escrito acerca de cada una. El día 2 participaron en un recupero grupal acerca de las historias. El día 3 respondieron a tareas de reconocimiento forzado. La calidad de los recuerdos se manipuló (mejores o peores recuerdos), y se generó una situación de desconfianza en uno de los participantes a fines de producir dos tipos de Narradores (confiables y no confiables) y de evaluar los procesos resistenciales. Los resultados indican que las diferencias entre Narradores confiables y no confiables dependen del tipo de dinámica conversacional que tiene lugar durante el recupero conversacional.
... that is, the messages that they themselves produce for the audience. In this case, the biasing information from the messages is generated by the person who is ultimately influenced rather than by other social agents (see Echterhoff & Hirst, 2009). This type of influence can be conceptualized as self-persuasion from their own message, resulting from the processes (public declaration, assumed or actual message acceptance) we have described earlier. ...
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We describe research on the creation of shared reality in interpersonal communication, with a special focus on the epistemic processes that allow communicators to achieve confident judgments and evaluations about a communication topic. A framework is proposed that distinguishes three epistemic inputs: (1) the communicator’s own judgment about the topic (judgment of communicator, JC); (2) the communicator’s perception of the audience’s judgment about the topic (judgment of audience, JA); and (3) the communicator’s message to the audience about the topic (message of communicator, MC). We argue that the influence of each input increases with the communicator’s confidence in the validity of that input, and that the likelihood that shared reality will be created through the communication interaction is higher when JC is weak and JA or MC or both are strong. We review a variety of empirical studies in terms of this framework. In so doing, we also address barriers to shared-reality creation in intergroup communication and describe interventions that work by increasing the validity strength of JA. We discuss the relation between the present research and other approaches to social influence and social sharing.
Humans are ultrasocial, yet, theories of cognition have often been occupied with the solitary mind. Over the past decade, an increasing volume of work has revealed how individual cognition is influenced by the presence of others. Not only do we rapidly identify others in our environment, but we also align our attention with their attention, which influences what we perceive, represent, and remember, even when our immediate goals do not involve coordination. Here, we refer to the human sensitivity to others and to the targets and content of their attention as 'altercentrism'; and aim to bring seemingly disparate findings together, suggesting that they are all reflections of the altercentric nature of human cognition.
In Experiment 1, simulated social pressure was manipulated through two factors: whether participants believed they were interacting with others or not via a webcam and whether they believed they were being recorded or not. Participants who believed they were being recorded, were significantly less accurate at recognising faces than those who did not believe they were being recorded. For Experiment 2, we found that the recognition of own-ethnicity faces was negatively affected by observation but not the recognition of other-ethnicity faces, and then only when observed during learning. Experiment 3 demonstrated that observation affected the recognition of upright faces more so than that of objects and inverted faces. Experiment 4 showed that observation does not affect the amount of holistic processing engaged in, but does affect how people view faces. Such results indicate that expert face recognition is susceptible to increased error if participants are being observed whilst encoding faces.
Being observed when completing physical and mental tasks alters how successful people are at completing them. This has been explained in terms of evaluation apprehension, drive theory, and due to the effects of stress caused by being observed. In three experiments, we explore how being observed affects participants’ ability to recognise faces as it relates to the aforementioned theories — easier face recognition tasks should be completed with more success under observation relative to harder tasks. In Experiment 1, we found that being observed during the learning phase of an old/new recognition paradigm caused participants to be less accurate during the test phase than not being observed. Being observed at test did not affect accuracy. We replicated these findings in an line-up type task in Experiment 2. Finally, in Experiment 3, we assessed whether these effects were due to the difficulty of the task or due to the physiological stress being observed caused. We found that while observation caused physiological stress, it did not relate to accuracy. Moderately difficult tasks (upright unfamiliar face recognition and inverted familiar face recognition) were detrimentally affected by being observed, whereas easy (upright familiar face recognition) and difficult tasks (inverted unfamiliar face recognition) were unaffected by this manipulation. We explain these results in terms of the direct effects being observed has on task performance for moderately difficult tasks and discuss the implications of these results to cognitive psychological experimentation.
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Humans have a fundamental need to experience a shared reality with others. We present a new conceptualization of shared reality based on four conditions. We posit (a) that shared reality involves a (subjectively perceived) commonality of individuals' inner states (not just observable behaviors); (b) that shared reality is about some target referent; (c) that for a shared reality to occur, the commonality of inner states must be appropriately motivated; and (d) that shared reality involves the experience of a successful connection to other people's inner states. In reviewing relevant evidence, we emphasize research on the saying-is-believing effect, which illustrates the creation of shared reality in interpersonal communication. We discuss why shared reality provides a better explanation of the findings from saying-is-believing studies than do other formulations. Finally, we examine relations between our conceptualization of shared reality and related constructs (including empathy, perspective taking, theory of mind, common ground, embodied synchrony, and socially distributed knowledge) and indicate how our approach may promote a comprehensive and differentiated understanding of social-sharing phenomena.
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* Some of the research reported in this paper and the writing of this article were supported by a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG, reference number EC 317/2) to Gerald Echterhoff.
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A fundamental human need is to experience a shared reality with others. We present a new conceptualization of shared reality based on four conditions. We posit that (a) shared reality involves a (subjectively perceived) commonality of individuals’ inner states (not just observable behaviors); (b) shared reality is about some target referent; (c) for a shared reality to occur, the commonality of inner states must be appropriately motivated; (d) shared reality involves the experience of a successful connection to other people's inner states. In reviewing relevant evidence, we emphasize research on the saying-is-believing effect, which illustrates the creation of shared reality in interpersonal communication. We discuss why shared reality provides a better explanation of the findings from saying-is-believing studies than do other formulations. Finally, we examine relations between our conceptualization of shared reality and related constructs (including empathy, perspective-taking, theory of mind, common ground, embodied synchrony, and socially distributed knowledge), and indicate how our approach may promote a comprehensive and differentiated understanding of social sharing phenomena.
Two experiments compared collaborative and individual recall. In Experiment 1, participants encoded pictures and words with a deep or shallow processing task, then recalled them twice either individually or collaboratively. Collaborative groups recalled more than individuals, but less than nominal groups (pooled individuals), thus exhibiting collaborative inhibition. However, group recall appeared to be more stable over time than individual recall. Groups and individuals both showed a picture-superiority effect, a level-of-processing effect, and hypermnesia. In Experiment 2, participants recalled the story ''War of the Ghosts'' (from F. C. Bartlett, 1932), and again collaborative groups recalled more than individuals, but less than nominal groups. Both the individual and collaborative recalls were highly organized. There was evidence that the collaborative groups tended to rely on the best individual to a greater extent in story than in list recall. Possible social and cognitive mechanisms are considered.
In two studies we examined the effect of questioner expertise on the error rates of subjects who were asked misleading versus unbiased questions. A total of 105 introductory psychology students watched a videotaped clip of a bank robbery and were then questioned about the crime. The questioner was represented to subjects as either highly knowledgeable or completely naive about the events the subject witnessed. One half of the subjects in each expertise condition were asked misleading questions, and the other half were asked unbiased questions. In the knowledgeable questioner conditions, misleading questions were associated with error rates significantly higher than those obtained with the unbiased questions (p < .05). In the naive questioner conditions, equivalent error rates for both types of questions were obtained (ns). These results indicate that misleading questions decrease witness accuracy when the questioner is assumed to be knowledgeable about the crime, but have no effect on accuracy when the questioner is assumed to be naive.
M. S. Weldon and K. D. Bellinger (1997) showed that people who collaborate on a recall test (collaborative group) perform much more poorly than the same number of people tested individually (nominal group). Four experiments tested the hypothesis that retrieval-strategy disruption underlies this collaborative inhibition when categorized lists are studied. Collaborative groups performed worse than nominal groups when categories were large (Experiment 1) and when category names were provided at recall (Experiment 2). However, collaborative-and nominal-group recall were equivalent when participants retrieved nonoverlapping parts of the list (Experiment 3) and when participants were forced to organize their recall by category (Experiment 4). Clearly, disorganized retrieval can account for collaborative inhibition with the materials and procedures used here.
The investigations described in this series are concerned with the conditions of independence and lack of independence in the face of group pressure. The abstract temper of present-day theory and investigation in this region rests to a considerable degree on a neglect of the cognitive and emotional experiences that are part of the individual's psychological field. The understanding of social influences will require the study of a wide range of conditions and of the interrelated operations of different psychological functions. A group of seven to nine individuals was gathered in a classroom to take part in what appeared to be a simple experiment in visual discrimination. The subjects were all male, white college students, ranging in age from 17 to 25; the mean age was 20. For certain purposes a large number of critical subjects was required for the present experiment. The present report is based on a total of 123 subjects. The task consisted of the comparison of a standard line with three other lines, one of which was equal in length to the standard. We investigated some of the conditions responsible for independence and lack of independence in the face of arbitrary group pressure. To this end we produced a disagreement between a group and one individual member about a clear and simple issue of fact. The interview, which followed the experimental session, provided qualitative evidence concerning the effects produced by the majority, The particular properties of the experimental situation and their relation to more usual social contradictions were described.