Actor-Observer Differences in Conversational Memory

Authors

  • LAURA STAFFORD,

    1. Laura Stafford (Ph.D., University of Texas, 1985) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Ohio State University.
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  • VINCENT R. WALDRON,

    1. Vincent R. Waldron (M.A., University of Arizona, 1984) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Kentucky.
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  • LINDA L. INFIELD

    1. Linda L. Infield (M. A., Ohio State University, 1987) is a personnel administrator, Western Reserve Mutual, Wooster, Ohio.
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Abstract

The effects of participant and observer perspectives on the quantity and quality of information recalled from conversations were examined. The observers were exposed to the conversation through videotape, audiotape, or transcript. No differences were found between participants and observers on measures of recall quantity. However, analysis of the composition of recall protocols indicated that participants reported more thematic and evaluative statements while observers produced more errors and elaborations. Observers of videotaped conversations also reported more descriptions and made more references to motives. Instruction set was also found to influence subjects’ recollections.

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