Effect of Identity of the Confederate on Social Contagion of Memory: Does Misinformation From Significant Other Cause Higher Levels of Contagion?
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Memory’s reconstructive structure is known and has a consensus upon for a long time; and researchers try to identify different kinds of effects on memory such as neurological factors, cognitive factors and developmental factors and so on (Sutton, 2011). However, influence of social factors was not considered in research until recently. Echterhoff and Hirst (2009) reviewed both group and dyad studies in memory conformity and social contagion. They mention the first studies of social influence on memory started with researcher’s involvement in experiment. Later on, there have been started the use of confederates and groups of participants and this improvement gave researchers a chance to conduct more realistic, real world-like experiments regarding the influences in memory; especially in memory conformity and contagion. Although the false memory studies rely on early studies, for instance by Loftus and Palmer (1974), research which investigates the social contagion phenomenon most directly is developed by Roediger, Meade, and Bergman (2001). Their paradigm to study the social contagion effects on memory can be seen as a pioneer.
In the experiment, Roediger et al. showed subjects six common scenes from daily life spots for a time; after the presentation, participant and a confederate engage in a collaborative recall activity where confederate reports some items falsely on purpose. Finally, participant also recalls the items individually and it is found that those who are exposed to suggestion of confederate are more likely to recall later items which were not on the scene. Amount of exposure to scene and also item’s contextual congruence are the factors which determine the level of contagion. Moreover, Meade and Roediger (2002) c...
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