Coman, A., Berry, J. (in press). Infectious cognition: Risk perception affects socially shared retrieval induced forgetting of medical information. Psychological Science.


When listening to speakers selectively retrieving previously learned information, listeners often concurrently, and covertly, retrieve their memories along with them.  This concurrent retrieval typically results in enhanced memory for mentioned information (rehearsal effect; RE), and impaired memory for unmentioned but related information (socially-shared retrieval-induced forgetting; SSRIF), relative to unmentioned and unrelated information.  Building on research showing that anxiety leads to increased attention to threat-relevant information, we explored whether concurrent retrieval is facilitated in high-anxiety real-world contexts.  Participants first learned category-exemplar facts about the Meningococcal Disease.  Following either a high-risk or low-risk of infection manipulation, they then listened to a mock radio show that selectively practiced some of the facts.  Final recall tests showed that RE was equivalent between the two risk conditions, but SSRIF was significantly larger in the high-risk than in the low-risk condition.  The tendency to exaggerate consequences of news events was, thus, found to have deleterious consequences.


        SPSS Dataset


        Study Procedure (Word)

        QUALTRICS Stimulus Materials (PDF)

        Audios (MP3)