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The effect of the order in which episodic autobiographical memories versus autobiographical knowledge are shared on feelings of closeness

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Autobiographical memories (AMs) can be used to create and maintain closeness with others [Alea, N., & Bluck, S. (2003). Why are you telling me that? A conceptual model of the social function of autobiographical memory. Memory, 11(2), 165–178]. However, the differential effects of memory specificity are not well established. Two studies with 148 participants tested whether the order in which autobiographical knowledge (AK) and specific episodic AM (EAM) are shared affects feelings of closeness. Participants read two memories hypothetically shared by each of four strangers. The strangers first shared either AK or an EAM, and then shared either AK or an EAM. Participants were randomly assigned to read either positive or negative AMs from the strangers. Findings suggest that people feel closer to those who share positive AMs in the same way they construct memories: starting with general and moving to specific.
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Keywords: Autobiographical memory; closeness; self-disclosure; social connections; strangers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychological Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Publication date: July 3, 2017

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