Collaborative remembering of emotional autobiographical memories: Implications for emotion regulation and collective memory.

People frequently engage in conversation about shared autobiographical events from their lives, particularly those with emotional significance. The pervasiveness of this practice raises the question whether shared memory reconstruction has the power to influence the memory and emotions associated with such events. We developed a novel paradigm that combined the strengths of the methods from autobiographical and collaborative memory research traditions to examine such consequences. We selected a shared, real-life autobiographical event of an exam, and asked students to recall their memory of taking a recent exam where they provided a group and/or personal narrative of this autobiographical event. Students first recalled the event either collaboratively (C) or individually (I), followed by a final individual (I) recall by all. Valence ratings as well as the emotional tone of the narratives converged to show that prior collaborative remembering down-regulated negative emotion and enhanced the positive emotional tone of the memories. The recalled detail in the narratives indicated that at initial recall members of collaborative groups reported fewer internal details than those who recalled alone, and reported more external details in a later recall when working alone. Earlier collaboration also increased collective memory such that more of these details were shared among prior group members in their later individual recall compared with those who did not collaborate before. We discuss the influence of collaborative remembering on shaping memory and emotion for autobiographical events as well as the potential mechanisms that promote collective autobiographical memory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)