On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age


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Is Social Media Destroying Your Memory?

This organization is later used when trying to recall the information. In a group setting as members exchange information, the information recalled by group members disrupts the idiosyncratic organization one had developed. As each member's organization is disrupted, this results in the less information recalled by the group compared to the pooled recall of participants who had individually recalled an equal number of participants as in the group.

Despite the problem of collaborative inhibition, working in groups may benefit an individual's memory in the long run, as group discussion exposes one to many different ideas over time. Working alone initially prior to collaboration seems to be the optimal way to increase memory. Early speculations about collaborative inhibition have included explanations, such as diminished personal accountability, social loafing and the diffusion of responsibility, however retrieval disruption remains the leading explanation.

Memory in the digital age

Studies have found that collective inhibition to sources other than social loafing, as offering a monetary incentive have been evidenced to fail to produce an increase in memory for groups. Personal accountability — drawing attention to one's own performance and contribution in a group — also did not reduce collaborative inhibition. Therefore, group members' motivation to overcome the interference of group recall cannot be achieved by several motivational factors. Information exchange among group members often helps individuals to remember things that they would not have remembered had they been working alone.

In other words, the information provided by Person A may 'cue' memories in Person B. This phenomenon results in enhanced recall. Compared to recalling individually, group members can provide opportunities for error prune during recall to detect errors that would otherwise be uncorrected by an individual. Group settings can also provide opportunities to exposure of erroneous information that may be mistaken to be correct or previously studied.

Listening to group members recall the previously encoded information can enhance memory as it provides a second exposure opportunity to the information.

On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age by Motti Neiger

Studies have shown that information forgotten and excluded during group recall can promote the forgetting of related information compared to information unrelated to that which was excluded during group recall. Selective forgetting has been suggested to be a critical mechanism involved in the formation of collective memories and what details are ultimately included and excluded by group members.

This mechanism has been studied using the socially shared retrieval induced forgetting paradigm, a variation of the retrieval induced forgetting method with individuals. Bottom-up approaches to the formation of collective memories investigate how cognitive-level phenomena allow for people to synchronize their memories following conversational remembering.

Due to the malleability of human memory, talking with one another about the past results in memory changes that increase the similarity between the interactional partners' memories [31] When these dyadic interactions occur in a social network, one can understand how large communities converge on a similar memory of the past. The collective memory of a nation is represented in part by the memorials it chooses to erect. Whatever a nation chooses to memorialize in physical monument, or perhaps more significantly, what not to memorialize, is an indicator of the collective memory.

Collective memory is also sustained through a continuous production of representational forms. In the media age — and maybe particularly during the last decade of increasing digitization — this generates a flow of, and production of, second hand memories see James E. Young below. Particular narratives and images are reproduced and reframed, yet also questioned and contested through new images and so forth. Collective memory today differs much from the collective memories of an oral culture, where no printing technique or transportation contributed to the production of imagined communities in which people come to share a sense of heritage and commonality with many human beings we have never met — as in the manner a citizen may feel a sort of 'kinship' with people of the same nation, region or city.

The arrival of film created many images, film scenes, news scenes, photographs, quotes, and songs, which became very familiar to regular moviegoers and remained in their collective memory. Images of particular movie stars became part of collective memory. During cinema visits, people could watch newsreels of news stories from around the world.

For the first time in history a mass audience was able to view certain stories, events, and scenes, all at the same time. They could all view how for instance the Hindenburg disaster was caught on camera and see and remember these scenes all at once. When television became a global mass entertainment medium in the s and s the collective memory of former cinema visitors increased when various films could be repeated endlessly and worldwide on television broadcasts. Hereby particular film scenes have become well-known, even to people who had not seen these films on their original cinematic release.

On media memory. Collective memory in a new media age

The same applies for television shows like I Love Lucy which have been repeated so often over the decades that certain episodes and scenes have become ingrained in the public's collective memory. When newsreels in the cinema gradually made place for television news broadcasting , it became a habit for mass audiences to watch the daily news on television. Worldwide this led to a new kind of collective memory where various news events could be shown much quicker than with the cinema newsreels. Therefore, certain filmed news stories could be shown on the same day they happened and even live during the broadcast itself.


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Millions of people have viewed the assassination of John F. Kennedy in , the landing of Apollo 11 in , the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in , the death of Princess Diana, and the September 11 attacks on their televisions.

Collective memory

In fact, certain questions like "What were you doing when Many people can remember what they were doing when certain internationally big media events occurred and these type of questions are usually used as a sort of milestone in individual people's life. For example, "What were you doing when you heard that John Lennon was shot? Due to television repeats, these moments could be relived even long after the actual event happened. The introduction of video stores and video recorders in the s, the internet in the s and the DVD player and YouTube in the s even increased the opportunity to view and check out famous and infamous movie and TV scenes.

Thanks to all these innovations certain scenes have become part of audiences' collective memory. This makes it easy for journalists, comedians, advertisers, politicians, etc. For example, when president Ronald Reagan concluded a speech on March 13, against the increase of taxes he said " Make my day ". Most people in the audience and TV viewers understood the reference to the Clint Eastwood film Sudden Impact and many laughed and cheered in response. The dance moves from Michael Jackson 's music video for "Thriller" have been repeatedly shown on TV so much that they are instantly recognizable and therefore imitated frequently for comedic effect in films, TV shows, commercials, etc.

Whenever a comedy show or film features a scene where someone is killed or threatened in a shower, most people understand it as a parody of Psycho. Various cartoons from Bugs Bunny to Shrek have spoofed famous fairy tales , knowing that everybody is familiar with the original stories and will immediately laugh at every deviation. The roar of movie monster Godzilla and Johnny Weissmuller 's Tarzan yell have become instantly recognizable and easy to put into a context, even without the images. Numerous TV shows and films such as The Simpsons , Family Guy , Scary Movie , the Shrek films, and the films of Mel Brooks , have referenced, parodied, imitated and recreated these famous scenes, often to the point of overkill.

Certain observers, like Kenneth Tynan in a quote from his diaries from October 19, have noted that due to the heavy rotation and repeats of all these famous film scenes, often even without their original context, they have become part of the cultural consciousness. He wrote:. Nobody took into account the tremendous impact that would be made by the fact that films are permanent and easily accessible from childhood onward. As the sheer number of films piles up, their influence will increase, until we have a civilization entirely molded by cinematic values and behavior patterns.

This volume offers a comprehensive discussion of Media Memory and brings Media and Mediation to the forefront of Collective Memory research. However, it also lays out a much-needed research agenda of collective memory studies in new important areas of mediated communication. These provide insight into how media and memory were mobilized in the formation of Israel and continue to be mobilized in contemporary Israeli politics.

Essays also reflect on how the various media and memory is being used to critique the ongoing military occupation of Palestine. For this reason, the collection may be particularly useful for researchers who are critically examining the mediation of Israeli nationalism and its contemporary political implications.


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  8. This book is challenging, insightful and informative and will definitely be of interest to researchers from a range of disciplines exploring the relationship between media and memory. While this insight is not new, the book sets out and succeeds to provide refreshing perspectives on the multi-faced and complex nature of media memory, and to pose new questions that result both from recent developments e. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser.

    On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age
    On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age
    On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age
    On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age
    On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age
    On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age
    On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age
    On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age

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