E. Tory Higgins

Shared reality effects on memory: Communicating to fulfill epistemic needs

Coauthor(s): Renee Kopietz, Jens Hellman, Gerald Echterhoff.


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Communicators' tuning of a message to suit their audience's attitude about a target can bias their subsequent memory of the target. Research shows that this effect occurs to the extent that the message serves the creation of a shared reality with the audience. In two experiments we investigated the motivational processes underlying such audience-tuning memory biases. Experiment 1 found that when audience tuning was motivated by a shared-reality motive (vs. compliance with a blatant demand), the memory bias was found even when the audience-attitude information was provided after the target information had already been encoded. In Experiment 2, communicators' epistemic needs were directly manipulated by giving them bogus feedback regarding their ability to form social judgments. Only communicators in the high (vs. low) epistemic-need condition tuned their message to their audience and, by so doing, they attained a confident view of the target, as well as a memory of the target that was consistent with their message.

© 2010 Guilford Press.

Source: Social Cognition
Exact Citation:
Kopietz, Renee, Jens Hellman, E. Tory Higgins, and Gerald Echterhoff. "Shared reality effects on memory: Communicating to fulfill epistemic needs." Social Cognition 28, no. 3 (June 14, 2010): 353-378.
Volume: 28
Number: 3
Pages: 353-378
Date: 14 6 2010