How Dyads Reminiscence Moderates the Relations Between Familiarity, Trust, and Memory Conformity

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Abstract

We examined memory conformity about an experience among dyads. Specifically, we tested the extent to which interpersonal familiarity and trust among dyads predicted their memory conformity to each other, and the extent to which the reminiscence mode (verbal discussion vs. nonverbal revision) moderated these relations. Participants (N = 100) in pairs (dyads = 50) either discussed verbally (discussion dyads = 25) or exchanged their written details nonverbally (revision dyads = 25) about a novel, shared experience in the laboratory. Discussing a new, shared event with a partner (vs. comparing each other’s written testimonies) predicted corrective memory conformity (personal memory improvement) and distortive memory conformity (personal memory errors). The data did not support an alternative model. Results thus suggest that familiarity and trust predict memory conformity, corrective and distortive, but only when people directly discuss their memories about an experience. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the two social psychological variables familiarity and trust in the context of memory conformity.

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