Tessa Clarkson, The University of Queensland
The Self Reference Effect (SRE) is the ability to recall and recognise self-relevant stimuli with greater accuracy than other-relevant stimuli. Ownership is one established method of assigning ‘Self’- versus ‘Other’ relevance and hence influencing recognition memory (Cunningham et al., 2008). Originally, this research began in a physical setting. Since then, the ‘Shopping Task’ has become computerised and mere ownership over picture stimuli is harnessed to measure self-reference effects. We sought to take the shopping task out of the lab, and onto the net, with the first iteration of the online shopping task. Many factors modulate the strength of the SRE by shifting the boundary between the ‘Self’ and ‘Others’.
In this study, we investigated whether enhancing awareness of the ‘Self’ or the ‘Other’ referent changes the accuracy of recognition of self-and other-owned items. In experiment 1, participants described their own hobbies and traits. They were then informed about those of ‘Sam’, the ‘Other’ referent. An ownership allocation phase was followed by a memory test. In experiment 2, no details of the ‘Other’ were provided. Details of these results will be discussed.