The Effects of Individualism and Collectivism on Memory

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jim Nelson


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-2-2015


Harry Triandis (1995) proposed that all people have some level of individualism and collectivism and that these tendencies are either encouraged or suppressed by culture. This study investigates levels of individualism and collectivism (I/C) in undergraduate students at Valparaiso University as well as students' memory for individualist and collectivist words. I/C levels were assessed using the Auckland Individualism and Collectivism Scale (AICS) (Shulruf et al, 2011) and memory for I/C words was assessed using a stimulus word presentation and a free recall task. The results showed that on average, students recalled significantly more individualist words than collectivist words. This study also examined the correlation between AICS score and the I/C word recall in addition to looking at correlations between students' self-ratings of the I/C words and word recall. These correlations were significant for the collectivism AICS score and collectivist word recall as well as collectivist self-rating and collectivist word recall, but the same results were not found with individualism. It is important to study individualism and collectivism since these constructs have an impact on the way people view themselves, the world, and those around them. Looking at ways in which these constructs affect cognitive processes such as memory can help people to become more aware and more understanding of others, especially as intercultural interaction becomes more frequent.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Holly Griskell is a senior psychology and Spanish double major, who is presenting this project as part of her honors work in psychology this year. She is interested in culture and the role that it might play in cognition, particularly memory. After graduation, Holly plans to pursue graduate study in developmental psychology with an emphasis on bilingualism and language.

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