Me Too!: Social Modelling Influences on Early Autobiographical Memories
Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2008
11 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2008 Last revised: 14 Jun 2011
Date Written: October 1, 2008
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.
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