The Social Impact of Being Remembered

Thank you for participating in our study!

Recent research has demonstrated that forgetting serves as a signal of interpersonal importance; when some is forgotten by someone else they feel less important and less close to the person who forgot them. In contrast, research has failed to observe much relational benefit as a result of being on the receiving end of someone's successful memory. However, there does appear to be an exception within a retail context. Research has shown that when an employee recognises a customer by name or recalls specific information about a certain customer that the customer feels as through the employee has 'connected' with them.

We suspect that the relational benefit memory provides within a retail context may be because the employee's successful memory is exceeding the customer's expectations of what the customer believes the employee 'should' remember. In this study we want to explore further the circumstances required for there to be a relational benefit as a result of successful memory.

In this study, you read a series of short scenarios about two characters, where one character either forgot or remembered something about the other character. In parallel versions of each scenario, the 'rememberer' or 'forgetter' remembered or forgot information in either a retail or non-retail context that was either relevant or irrelevant to the context the encounters took place. We measured your perceptions of the importance of the conversation to the communicator and your perceptions of the target's closeness to the communicator in each scenario. We will later assess whether your perceptions of importance and closeness was determined by the context where the remembering or forgetting took place (i.e., retail or non-retail context) and the type of information that was remembered or forgotten (i.e., context or non-context relevant information).

If successful, this study will help shape our understanding about how people perceive and interpret remembering and forgetting in social interaction.

Please ask any questions you might have or discuss any concerns with Miss Caris Agnew (undergraduate student) or Dr Devin G. Ray (supervisor) in the School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, by emailing or, respectively.

Thank you again for participating in our study.

For any further information you may refer to:

Burgoon, J. K., & Hale, J. L. (1988). Nonverbal expectancy violations: Model elaboration and application to immediacy behaviors. Communications Monographs, 55(1), 58-79.

Gremler, D. D., & Gwinner, K. P. (2008). Rapport-building behaviors used by retail employees. Journal of Retailing, 84(3), 308-324.

Ray, D. G., Gomillion, S., Pintea, A. I., & Hamlin, I. (2018). On being forgotten: Memory and forgetting serve as signals of interpersonal importance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.