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Mnemonic convergence in social networks: The emergent properties of cognition at a collective level

Author(s): Coman, Alin; Momennejad, Ida; Drach, Rae D.; Geana, Andra

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Abstract: The development of shared memories, beliefs, and norms is a fundamental characteristic of human communities. These emergent outcomes are thought to occur owing to a dynamic system of information sharing and memory updating, which fundamentally depends on communication. Here we report results on the formation of collective memories in laboratory-created communities. We manipulated conversational network structure in a series of real-time, computer-mediated interactions in fourteen 10-member communities. The results show that mnemonic convergence, measured as the degree of overlap among community members’ memories, is influenced by both individual-level information-processing phenomena and by the conversational social network structure created during conversational recall. By studying laboratory-created social networks, we show how large-scale social phenomena (i.e., collective memory) can emerge out of microlevel local dynamics (i.e., mnemonic reinforcement and suppression effects). The social-interactionist approach proposed herein points to optimal strategies for spreading information in social networks and provides a framework for measuring and forging collective memories in communities of individuals.
Publication Date: 19-Jul-2016
Electronic Publication Date: 29-Jun-2016
Citation: Coman, Alin, Momennejad, Ida, Drach, Rae D, Geana, Andra. (2016). Mnemonic convergence in social networks: The emergent properties of cognition at a collective level. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113 (29), 8171 - 8176. doi:10.1073/pnas.1525569113
DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.1525569113
ISSN: 0027-8424
EISSN: 1091-6490
Pages: 8171 - 8176
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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