Differential Effects of Pressure on Social Contagion of Memory

Jessica Andrews-Todd, Nikita A. Salovich, David N. Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Collaboration can support performance on a variety of tasks, but recent projects have indicated that group collaborations can also be associated with memory decrements. For example, when people discuss ideas, any shared inaccurate information can be used by group members to complete subsequent tasks. Across two experiments, we examined whether this social contagion is influenced by performance pressures that regularly emerge during group interactions. In Experiment 1, participants under individual-directed pressure, goal-directed pressure, or control conditions studied word lists before completing a collaborative recall with a confederate partner who occasionally recalled incorrect words. We examined whether partnerproduced inaccuracies contaminated participants’ memories for the list contents on a subsequent individual recall. Goal-directed pressure, focused on monitoring partner accuracy, facilitated subsequent individual recall, as demonstrated by reduced reproductions of partner-generated inaccuracies. In contrast, individualdirected pressure, focused on appearing competent, resulted in greater use of those inaccuracies. Experiment 2 ruled out that the benefits associated with goal-directed pressure were solely due to warning participants about the possibility of social contagion. These results demonstrate that different instantiations of pressure can help or hinder memory-related performance in collaborative settings. Under the right conditions, pressure can help overcome the effects of exposure to inaccurate information

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-275
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • False memory
  • Memory
  • Performance pressure
  • Social contagion of memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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