The Memorial Consequences of Retellings and Their Underlying Cognitive Mechanisms: The Role of Selective Rehearsal and Connections to Autobiographical Memory
Simply recalling a memory has very different consequences than retelling it. Accuracy is often emphasized when events are recalled; however, retelling an event in a conversational manner may compromise accuracy in order to make the story more entertaining (e.g., Dudukovic, Marsh, & Tversky, 2004), or to support a specific argument (e.g., Tversky & Marsh, 2000). I will focus on the memorial consequences and underlying mechanisms of retellings.
First, I will review research that shows the inaccuracies of retellings. In reviewing this research, I will identify possible underlying mechanisms that change memory through retellings, such as the following: schema-guided reconstruction, interference, transfer inappropriate processing, and retrieval-induced-forgetting.
Second, I will experimentally investigate possible cognitive mechanisms underlying these memorial changes. In the first experiment, I show that the elaborative nature of storytelling does not influence memory more so than simply selectively rehearsing that information. In the second and third experiments, I investigate how retelling autobiographical events influences qualitative aspects of memory. These two experiments suggest that retrieving autobiographical events influences memory quality, although the specific nature in which they are retold has no effect. I close by connecting these three experiments to the broader literature.
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