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Three facets of collective memory.
American Psychologist  (IF16.358),  Pub Date : 2022-03-10, DOI: 10.1037/amp0000938
Henry L. Roediger

Collective memory refers to the memories that individuals have as members of the groups to which they belong, whether small (family, school) or large (political party, nation). Membership in some groups can form a strong part of a person’s individual identity. Collective memory is history as people remember it; it is not formal history, because the “memories” of a group are often contradicted by historical fact. Although collective memory is held within individuals, it has rarely been studied by psychologists, because they have concentrated on studying the learning of individual events (such as word lists) in the laboratory or retrieving events of one’s life (autobiographical memory). Three facets of collective memory are the focus of this article. First, collective memory can be a body of knowledge about a topic. However, this knowledge base may change over generations of a people. Second, collective memory often portrays an image of a people, and often this image arises from the group’s origin story or charter. Third, collective memory is a process; collective remembering can reveal disputes and contestations about how the past should be remembered. One useful purpose of collective memory studies is to capture how different groups and societies remember their history and to discern their shared perspective on the world and how such perspectives differ among groups.