Journal or Book Title
Memory & Cognition
Collaborative inhibition refers to the finding that pairs of people working together to retrieve information from memory—a collaborative group—often retrieve fewer unique items than do nominal pairs, who retrieve individually but whose performance is pooled. Two experiments were designed to explore whether collaborative inhibition, which has heretofore been studied using traditional memory stimuli such as word lists, also characterizes spatial memory retrieval. In the present study, participants learned a layout of objects and then reconstructed the layout from memory, either individually or in pairs. The layouts created by collaborative pairs were more accurate than those created by individuals, but less accurate than those of nominal pairs, providing evidence for collaborative inhibition in spatial memory retrieval. Collaborative inhibition occurred when participants were allowed to dictate the order of object placement during reconstruction (Exp. 1), and also when object order was imposed by the experimenter (Exp. 2), which was intended to disrupt the retrieval processes of pairs as well as of individuals. Individual tests of perspective taking indicated that the underlying representations of pair members were no different than those of individuals; in all cases, spatial memories were organized around a reference frame aligned with the studied perspective. These results suggest that inhibition is caused by the product of group recall (i.e., seeing a partner’s object placement), not by the process of group recall (i.e., taking turns choosing an object to place). The present study has implications for how group performance on a collaborative spatial memory task may be optimized.
Psychonomic Society, Inc.
Sjolund, Lori A.; Erdman, Matthew; and Kelly, Jonathan W., "Collaborative inhibition in spatial memory retrieval" (2014). Psychology Publications. 93.