The "egocentric" Americans? long-term memory for public events in five countries
Wang, Qi and Conway, Martin A. and Kulkofsky, Sarah and Mueller_Johnson, Katrin and Aydın, Çağla and Williams, Helen (2012) The "egocentric" Americans? long-term memory for public events in five countries. In: Sun, Miao-Kun, (ed.) Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, New York, pp. 183-190. ISBN 9781613244616 ; 1613244614
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Cognitive theories suggest that individuals often ignore information of no personal relevance, while attending to and remembering information important to them. Will this tendency become more salient in a context of culturally sustained egocentrism and self-focus, influencing how individuals perceive and retain information beyond immediate personal experiences? To answer this question, the present study examined long-term memory for public events in middle-aged adults from the U.S., England, Germany, Turkey, and China (total N = 274). Participants recalled within a five-minute period public events occurring in their lifetime, and provided information of personal context details of first learning of the events. Compared with British, Germans, Turkish, and Chinese, Americans had greater remembrance of public events about their own country while showing impoverished recall of foreign events. The findings are discussed in light of the role of culturally sustained self-focus in processing and remembering event information. They further have important implications for policy and education in the current global context.
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