Me Too!: Social Modelling Influences on Early Autobiographical Memories

Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2008

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2008

11 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2008 Last revised: 14 Jun 2011

See all articles by Tiamoyo Peterson

Tiamoyo Peterson

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

Suzanne O. Kaasa

Northrop Grumman Technical Services/Defense Personnel Security Research Center

Elizabeth F. Loftus

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior; University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2008

Abstract

To investigate the malleability of early memories, 200 participants were asked to describe their earliest memories. Before doing so, approximately half were exposed to confederates who described very early memories such as their first steps or a second birthday party, while others were asked only to think about their earliest memories for two minutes before beginning writing. Participants who were exposed to confederate very early memories produced memories that were nearly a year younger on average than the memories reported by controls (2.99 years vs. 3.96 years). Additionally, when participants in the memory discussion condition were asked about a nearly event that a confederate had recounted they were more confident than controls that they could recall the event in their own lives. These results indicate that autobiographical memories for early events are quite susceptible to social influence and that simply hearing the very early memories of others can alter autobiographical memory.

Suggested Citation

Peterson, Tiamoyo and Kaasa, Suzanne O. and Loftus, Elizabeth F., Me Too!: Social Modelling Influences on Early Autobiographical Memories (October 1, 2008). Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2008; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1276675

Tiamoyo Peterson

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

Suzanne O. Kaasa

Northrop Grumman Technical Services/Defense Personnel Security Research Center ( email )

Defense Personnel Security Research Center
20 Ryan Ranch Road
Monterey, CA 93940
United States

Elizabeth F. Loftus (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

University of California, Irvine School of Law

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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