The response order effect: People believe the first person who remembers an event

  • Wright D
  • Carlucci M
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Abstract

When groups of people remember an event, the order in which they discuss their memories is important. In three experiments, a response order effect was shown in which participants believed the first speaker to be more accurate and more confident than a subsequent speaker. Further, participants were more likely to report as their own memory what the first speaker reported than what a subsequent speaker reported. The experiments showed that the response order effect was not due to intrinsic characteristics of what the first speaker said. Even when participants chose the response order themselves and the speakers' dialogue was counterbalanced, participants still believed that the first speaker was more accurate and confident than a subsequent speaker. Because in most situations the person who introduces a particular topic into a discussion is more accurate, people may assume that this is true, even when the response order is random.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Memory
  • Memory conformity
  • Suggestibility

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Authors

  • Daniel B. Wright

  • Marianna E. Carlucci

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