We used a memory paradigm to test whether the nature of representations of the self within long-term memory differed as a function of cultural background. In Western samples words encoded in relation to the self are typically remembered better, and Euro-Canadian participants here showed this standard self-reference effect. However, Asian-Canadian participants were slower to recognize personal traits (as opposed to collective traits) when these traits had been encoded in reference to the self, suggesting a more elaborate representation of the collective self than the personal self in long-term memory. Further, memory was actually inhibited for Asian-Canadians when personal traits were encoded in reference to the self (vs. encoded with other referents). Differences in long-term memory trace strength for self-related data may emerge even as differences in the working self do not, and implications of this difference are discussed.
- Long-term memory
- Self-reference effect
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science