Younger and older adults' collaborative recall of shared and unshared emotional pictures.
Although a group of people working together recalls more items than any one individual, they recall fewer unique items than the same number of people working apart whose responses are combined. This is known as collaborative inhibition, and it is a robust effect that occurs for both younger and older adults. However, almost all previous studies documenting collaborative inhibition have used stimuli that were neutral in emotional valence, low in arousal, and studied by all group members. In the current experiments, we tested the impact of picture-stimuli valence, picture-stimuli arousal, and information distribution in modulating the magnitude of collaborative inhibition. We included both younger and older adults because there are age differences in how people remember emotional pictures that could modulate any effects of emotion on collaborative inhibition. Results revealed that when information was shared (i.e., studied by all group members), there were robust collaborative inhibition effects for both neutral and emotional stimuli for both younger and older adults. However, when information was unshared (i.e., studied by only a single group member), these effects were attenuated. Together, these results provide mixed support for the retrieval strategy disruption account of collaborative inhibition. Supporting the retrieval strategy disruption account, unshared study information was less susceptible to collaborative inhibition than shared study information. Contradicting the retrieval strategy disruption account, emotional valence and arousal did not modulate the magnitude of collaborative inhibition despite the fact that participants clustered the emotional, but not neutral, information together in memory.
Barber, SJ; Castrellon, JJ; Opitz, P; Mather, M
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