Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Kyungmi Kim

Major

Psychology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Extending the self-reference effect (i.e., a memory advantage produced by self-referent encoding) to the level of social identities, previous research showed that processing information in reference to one’s ingroup at encoding enhances memory for that information (i.e., the group-reference effect). Notably, recent work on the self-reference effect has shown that even simply co-presenting an item with self-relevant vs. other-relevant information (e.g., one’s own or another person’s name) at encoding can produce an “incidental” self-memory advantage in the absence of any task demand to evaluate the item’s self-relevancy. The present study examined whether this “incidental” self-reference effect extends beyond the level of personal identity to the level of social identity using existing groups (Experiment 1; university affiliation) and newly-created, minimal groups (Experiment 2). In both experiments, during encoding, participants judged the location of each target word presented either above or below ingroup-relevant vs. outgroup-relevant information. In a subsequent memory test, we found an incidental group-reference effect under a minimal-group context (Experiment 2) but not under an existing group context (Experiment 1). Collectively, the present findings suggest that the emergence/magnitude of an incidental ingroup-memory advantage may depend on the salience of the ingroup vs. outgroup distinction at any given moment.

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