I saw it for longer than you: The relationship between perceived encoding duration and memory conformity
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The memory conformity effect is when people’s memories become similar to one another’s following a discussion. The present study examined whether an individual’s beliefs in the quality of their memory, relative to another person’s, mediates susceptibility to memory conformity. Perceived encoding duration was manipulated by telling dyad members that one person had encoded a set of pictures for either half or twice as long as their partner. In fact, actual encoding duration was the same for all participants. Dyad members each encoded slightly different versions of otherwise identical pictures and discussed them prior to an individual free-recall test. Participants who believed that they had encoded the pictures for half as long as their partner were more susceptible to memory conformity, as indicated by their increased tendency to report errant items at test that had been encountered from their partner rather than items that they had actually seen. This effect of perceived encoding duration on memory conformity was mediated through response order. A source-monitoring test found that these unseen items were errantly attributed to the pictures approximately 50% of the time. The findings are discussed in relation to the role of metamemory in susceptibility to memory conformity.