Effect of social context on recognition memory
Schneider, Dana M.
Watkins, Michael J.
Master of Arts
Experiments reported here examine the susceptibility of memory to social influence. In Experiments 1 and 2, the subject's recognition memory for a list of words was tested in the presence of another respondent, with the two taking turns to report their responses aloud. The other respondent was another subject in the first experiment and a confederate in the second. In Experiment 2, each response was supplemented by a confidence rating according to a 3-point scale. In Experiment 3, rather than responding aloud, subjects recorded their answers in a booklet which contained the responses of two pseudosubjects. In all experiments responses were biased in the direction of preceding responses of other respondent(s). Conformity was greater when the word had not been studied than when it had. Thus, conformity of (reported) memory can readily be demonstrated in the laboratory. Such findings of conformity illustrate one source of false memory.
Experimental psychology; Social psychology; Cognitive psychology