Culture and Memories (02-26-19)

Recently published research highlights links between culture and memories; these findings may be useful to people researching users’ experiences, for instance.  Wang, Hou, Koh, Song, and Yang’s research focused on “Episodic memory [which] supports our sense of self, enabling us to recall specific past experiences that make up our personal history . . . In a set of four studies. . . [the researchers] found that the benefits previously attributed to maintaining detailed episodic memories may in fact be dependent on a person’s culture. . . . Prioritizing memories of distinct personal experiences does appear to increase wellbeing for those in WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic) cultural contexts that tend to emphasize creating a unique, independent personal identity. . . . Many cultures in East Asia, however, emphasize a more relational, interdependent sense of self. In line with the person-culture-fit framework, Wang said, having detailed memories of one’s own experiences may not hold the same value but even work against the cultural expectation for fitting-in in an East Asian context, resulting in minimal or even negative wellbeing effects.”  This Wang-lead study was published in Clinical Psychological Science.

“The Culturally Specific Role of Specific Episodic Memory.”  2019. Press release, Association for Psychological Science,