Adaptive Memory: Survival Processing and Social Isolation
Social isolation was examined to assess its potential influence on the survival processing effect, which shows that individuals are more likely to remember something when it is processed with regard to their survival. Participants imagined being stranded in the grasslands, going on a space mission, or moving to a foreign land while alone or with a group of friends and rated a list of words for their relevance to the assigned scenario. An incidental memory test showed the typical survival processing effect on recall memory, with a significant interaction showing that the effect occurred in the isolated condition but not in the group condition. A second experiment examined rates of recognition for an isolated and group condition for the grasslands and moving scenarios and found a marginally significant effect of isolation in addition to the typical survival processing effect. Further, in both experiments, the perceived isolation of the isolated and group survival grasslands scenarios was significantly higher than the other conditions. The results are discussed with regard to the self-reference effect and the object-function account of the survival processing effect.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Leding, & Toglia, M. P. (2018). Adaptive Memory: Survival Processing and Social Isolation. Evolutionary Psychology, 16(3), 1474704918789297–1474704918789297. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474704918789297