We Remember, We Forget: Collaborative Remembering in Older Couples; Harris, Keil, Sutton and Bamier
Transactive memory theory describes the processes by which benefits for memory can occur when remembering is shared in dyads or groups. In contrast, cognitive psychology experiments demonstrate that social influences on memory disrupt and inhibit individual recall. However, most research in cognitive psychology has focused on groups of strangers recalling relatively meaningless stimuli. This study examined social in:fiuences on memory in groups with a shared history, who were recalling a range of stimuli, from word lists to personal, shared memories. The study focused, in detail, on the products and processes of remembering during in-depth interviews with 12 older married couples. These interviews consisted of !bree recall tasks: (a) word list recall; (b) personal lis!recall, where stimuli were relevan!lo the couples' shared past; and (e) ao open-ended autobiographical ioterview. These tasks iodividually conducted aod then collaboratively conducted two weeks later. Across each of the tasks, although sorne couples demonstrated collaborative inhibition, others demonstrated collaborative facilitation. A number of factors were identified that predicted collaborative success-io particular, group level strategy use. The results show that collaboration may help or hinder memory, and certain interactions are
more likely to produce collaborative benefits.