Cognition through a social network: The propagation of induced forgetting and practice effects

Alin Coman, William Hirst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Although a burgeoning literature has shown that practice effects and socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting can reshape the memories of speakers and listeners involved in a conversation, it has generally failed to examine whether such effects can propagate through a sequence of conversational interactions. This lacuna is unfortunate, since sequences of social interactions are more common than single, isolated ones. The present research explores how people exposed to attitudinally biased selective practice propagate the practice and forgetting effects into subsequent conversations with attitudinally similar and dissimilar others and, through these conversations, affect subsequent acts of remembering. The research establishes that the propagation of retrieval-induced forgetting and practice effects is transitive. It also determines when attitude influences propagation. These findings are discussed in the context of the formation of collective memories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-336
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • General Psychology


  • Attitudes
  • Collective memory
  • Diffusion of information
  • Social networks
  • Socially shared retrieval induced forgetting


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