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The social significance of having good or poor auto[bio]graphical memory from an impression formation perspective

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The social significance of having good or poor auto[bio]graphical memory from an impression formation perspective

Blake, Caminee K (2000) The social significance of having good or poor auto[bio]graphical memory from an impression formation perspective. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The focus of the present research is on assessing people's perceptions of others as a function of the others' autobiographical recall ability. It is concerned primarily with perceptions of others, and to some extent with people's perceptions of the nature of autobiographical memory itself. The core hypothesis is that people will judge others with good autobiographical memory as more sociable, warm and emotionally involved and those with poor autobiographical memory as less sociable and as more cold and indifferent. In most of the studies, participants were provided with written descriptions of a person and asked to report their impressions of this target primarily by providing ratings on various trait characteristics. First, Studies 1a and 1b surveyed people's perceptions of the nature and importance of autobiographical memory. Results demonstrated that when participants are explicitly asked, having good autobiographical memory is perceived to be normative both descriptively and prescriptively. In this context, having poor autobiographical memory would be perceived as unusual and may be judged harshly. Study 2 was designed to elicit participants' perceptions of others with good or poor autobiographical memory, and good or poor task-related memory using an open-ended, unstructured format. Study 3 assessed whether people's perceptions of targets having good or poor autobiographical memory differed along the social and intellectual dimensions of implicit personality theory relative to perceptions of having good or poor task-related memory. Results of Studies 2 and 3 indicated that perceptions of good and poor autobiographical memory targets generally differed from perceptions of task-related memory targets. As hypothesized, a link between perceptions of sociability and autobiographical memory on the one hand, and perceptions of intellectual competence and memory for task-related information on the other hand was supported using both an unstructured and a more structured methodology. Study 4 examined whether good relative to poor autobiographical memory targets are perceived as significantly more sociable and whether perceptions of warmth might mediate this perception of global sociability. It appears that participants develop an impression of good autobiographical targets as warm, which then influences their ratings of the target on some of the other sociability trait terms. These results are consistent with warm being viewed as a central evaluative term given that it seems to carry significant weight when forming impressions of good and poor autobiographical memory targets. Studies 5 and 6 assessed whether perceptions of targets with good or poor autobiographical memory are primarily related to the warm and cold central trait terms within the social domain. As expected, results of Study 5 supported that individuals with poor memory for personal events and experiences are perceived to be significantly colder relative to individuals described with good autobiographical memory. Similarly, the results of Study 6 indicated that participants perceived individuals with good autobiographical memory as warm relative to individuals with poor autobiographical memory. Overall, the present studies consistently supported that having good autobiographical memory is strongly tied to perceptions of sociability and warmth. Having access to memories for one's personal events and experiences is perceived to be socially desirable and communicates information about oneself and seemingly one's interest in engaging with others.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Blake, Caminee K
Pagination:xiii, 195 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Psychology
Date:2000
Thesis Supervisor(s):Conway, Michael
ID Code:1400
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:19
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:20
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