Understanding the Role of Identity Within Processes of Remembrance Using Experimental Approaches in Social and Cognitive Psychology

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Alexander Griffiths, The MacLeod Lab, School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, UK
      • Malcolm D. MacLeod, University of St Andrews, UK


    By taking an experimental approach informed by social and cognitive psychological theory, we aim to elucidate how the various identities we assume moderate processes of remembering and forgetting. Our experimental research has shown that biased renderings of congruent information reinforcing a particular sense of identity will be committed to memory more readily than information that opposes this sense of identity. However, when the social context presents combined renderings of information pertaining to the individual’s chosen social identity and that of an opposing group, participants readily remember information of the opposing group in contrast to their own. These processes of transmission illustrate the complexities of remembering and forgetting within the social context, and the role of identity in filtering renderings between individuals. The research illustrates that there are occasions where our sense of identity will filter information that reinforces and confirms knowledge of our chosen social group. In contrast however there are also occasions, where in order to reinforce knowledge of our chosen social groupings, we must also hold to hand renderings of information that pertain to the other opposing group. By acquiring a greater understanding of the factors involved in transmission of memorial renderings between individuals at a group identity level from an experimental psychological perspective, we hope to understand further the implications of these processes for conflict and its resolution.