Memories of Recent Ethnic Conflict and Their Relationship to Social Identity

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Abstract

To examine ethnic memory and ethnic identity, two cohorts of Northern Irish university students in 1984 and 1995 were first asked to classify themselves in terms of being British or Irish. They were then shown 12 video clips of political events in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 1980 and asked to date each clip. Then they indicated on a rating scale how that particular event made them feel in terms of being Irish or British. Baseline ethnic identity was virtually identical in both cohorts. In both years, performance on the memory task was at above-chance levels although performance declined from 1984 to 1995. There was, however, no direct relation between baseline identity and memory performance.

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