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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Modeling the Effect of Learning During Retrieval on Collaborative Inhibition


The primary phenomenon within the field of collaborative memory is collaborative inhibition: the tendency for collaborative groups to underperform in free recall tasks compared to nominal groups of comparable size. Previously, we adapted the Search of Associative Memory (SAM; Raaijmakers & Shiffrin, 1981) model to collaborative free recall and found support for the retrieval disruption hypothesis (Mannering, Rajaram, Shiffrin, & Jones, 2022). In this paper, we investigate another possible cause of collaborative inhibition: memory homogenization. Previous modeling attempts have shown that memory homogenization may contribute to collaborative inhibition (Luhmann & Rajaram, 2015). In this paper, we prevent SAM models from learning during collaborative retrieval which subsequently prevents memory homogenization. We found that even when SAM model memories remained diversified, collaborative inhibition persisted—though the strength of the effect was diminished. These results suggest that both retrieval disruption and memory homogenization may contribute to collaborative inhibition in SAM.

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