The formation of collective memories, emotions and beliefs is a fundamental characteristic of human communities. These emergent outcomes are thought to occur due to a dynamical system of communicative interactions among individuals. But despite recent psychological research on collective phenomena, no programmatic framework to explore the processes involved in their formation exists. Here, we propose a social-interactionist approach that bridges cognitive and social psychology to illuminate how micro-level cognitive phenomena give rise to large-scale social outcomes. It involves first establishing the boundary conditions of cognitive phenomena, then investigating how cognition is influenced by the social context in which it is manifested, and finally studying how dyadic-level influences propagate in social networks. This approach has the potential to (1) illuminate the large-scale consequences of well- established cognitive phenomena, (2) lead to interdisciplinary dialogues between psychology and the other social sciences and (3) be more relevant for public policy than existing approaches.
The lifetime temporal distribution of older adults’ autobiographical memories peaks during the transitional period of late adolescence and early adulthood, a phenomenon known as the reminiscence bump. This age-specific memory enhancement suggests that transitions may provide a more general organizing structure for autobiographical memory. To test this hypothesis, we examined how older adults’ memories of events that occurred between the ages of 40 and 60 were distributed around residential relocations occurring within this same time frame. The temporal distribution of memories showed a marked relocation bump around the age of the most important residential move. Although previous research has focused on the negative effects of relocation, the current findings suggest that transitions could have a positive effect on autobiographical memory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)