Date of Award
Recollection is frequently social; people tend to remember with others and when they do, their joint recollection is enhanced (Meudell, Hitch & Kirby, 1992). While one intuitively thinks that collaboration would enhance memory, Weldon, et al. (1997) argued that recalling with others impairs retrieval of "unique items." This collaborative inhibition (CI), occurs when pairs of subjects recall fewer correct "unique" items than others recall in isolation. This is a common result in many studies and has been attributed to both social and cognitive causes. This study examined whether or not collaborative inhibition would disappear if the total possible number of unique items were equal in groups and individuals randomly put into pairs and triads. In a series of experiments, we showed that the nominal grouping condition remembered more unique correct items than collaborative groups, but the effects of collaborative inhibition disappeared when the collaborative subjects were given an equal number of chances to remember as the isolated subjects. This provides evidence that the effects of collaborative inhibition are caused by an artifact in the scoring procedure and not a memory failure. This finding is vital in memory research because it alleviates the doubt on group recall caused by collaborative inhibition.
McClure, Lauren M., "Collaborative inhibition: A counterintuitive phenomenon" (2010). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. Paper 72.