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Suparna Rajaram, Ph.D.

Rice University (1991)
Distinguished Professor Cognitive Science
Dr. Rajaram plans to admit a new graduate student pending approval of funding.


Office: Psychology B-252
Phone: (631) 632-7841

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Research Interests:

Human memory; Social transmission of memory; Collective memory; Collaborative remembering; Transmission of false memory, Memory and emotion; Learning and education; Social memory and aging; Implicit versus explicit memory; Recollective experience; Human amnesia

Current Research:

My research focuses on experimental study of social transmission of memory and emergence of collective memory. Cognitive science research in this area has just come out of its infancy, and it is growing rapidly to produce advances in our scientific understanding of the social influences on memory. My aim is to understand complex, large-scale group memory phenomena in terms of well-grounded psychological processes. Such a study of information flow in social settings - both in small groups and large social networks - offers a platform to understand the nature of memory function as well as memory errors, as well as social scaffolding of memory in aging.  Critically, this approach also offers tools to investigate the influences of social, cultural, and political contexts within which collective memory emerge; that is, how memory structures align across a body of people to form collective memory. Other lines of research interests over the years include memory and emotion, the distinction between repeated testing and repeated study, the distinction between explicit and implicit memory, new learning in amnesia, and the nature of recollective experience. 

Representative Publications:

^ Graduate student author (current/former)

^^ Masters student author

^^^ Undergraduate student author

Choi, H.-Y.^, Kensinger, E.A., & Rajaram, S. (in press). Mnemonic transmission, social contagion, and emergence of collective memory: Influence of emotional valence, group structure, and information distribution.   Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. (doi: 10.1037/xge0000327)

Rajaram S., & Maswood R. ^ (in press). Collaborative Memory: A Selective Review of Data and Theory. In: John H. Byrne (Ed.)  Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference (2nd edition). Oxford: Academic Press. 

Rajaram, S. (in press).  Collaborative inhibition in group recall: Cognitive principles and implications. In M. Meade, A. Barnier, P. Van Bergen, C. Harris, & J. Sutton (Eds.), Collaborative Remembering:  How Remembering with Others Influences Memory.  Oxford University Press.

Szekely, A.^, Rajaram, S., & Mohanty, A. (in press).  Context learning for threat detection.   Cognition and Emotion. (

Kensinger, E., Choi, H.-Y.^, Murray, B. ^, &  Rajaram, S. (2016). How social interactions affect emotional memory accuracy: Evidence from collaborative retrieval and social contagion paradigms.  Memory & Cognition, 44, 706–716.

Luhmann, C.C., & Rajaram, S. (2015). Memory Transmission in Small Groups and Large Networks: An Agent-Based Model. Psychological Science, 26, 1909-1917.

Barber, S. J. ^, Harris, C. B. ^, & Rajaram, S. (2015). Why two heads apart are better than two heads together: Multiple mechanisms underlie the collaborative inhibition effect in memory.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41, 559-566.

Blumen, H. M. ^, Young, K. E. ^^^, & Rajaram, S. (2014). Optimizing Group Collaboration to Maximize Later Individual Retention.  Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 3, 244-251.

Pociask, S.^, & Rajaram, S. (2014). The effects of collaborative practice on statistical problem solving: benefits and boundaries.  Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 3, 252-260.

Choi, H.-Y. ^, Blumen, H. M. ^, Congleton, A. R. ^, &  Rajaram, S. (2014) The role of group configuration in the social transmission of memory: Evidence from identical and reconfigured groups.  Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 26, 65-80.

Joint winner for “Best Paper of the Year 2014” journal award   

Congleton, A.R. ^ & Rajaram, S. (2014). Collaboration changes both the content and the structure of memory: Building the architecture of shared representations.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. PMID: 24588216  [Epub ahead of print]

Fazio, L.K. ^, Barber, S.J. ^, Rajaram, S., Ornstein, P., & Marsh, E.J. (2013).  Creating Illusions of Knowledge: Learning Errors that Contradict Prior Knowledge.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142, 1-5. 

Blumen, H. M. ^,  Rajaram, S., & Henkel, L. (2013). The applied value of collaborative memory research in aging: Considerations for broadening the scope.  Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2, 133-135.

Blumen, H. M. ^,  Rajaram, S., & Henkel, L. (2013). The applied value of collaborative memory research in aging: Behavioral and neural considerations.  Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2, 107-117.

Choi, H.-Y. ^, Kensinger, E., &  Rajaram, S.,  (2013). Emotional content enhances true but not false memory for categorized stimuli.  Memory & Cognition, 41, 403-415.

Congleton, A.R. ^ & Rajaram, S. (2012). The origin of the interaction between learning history and delay in the testing effect: The roles of processing and retrieval organization. Memory & Cognition, 40, 528 – 539

Barber, S. J. ^,  Rajaram, S., & Paneerselvam, B. ^^ (2012). The collaborative encoding deficit is attenuated with specific warnings.  Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 24, 929-941 .

Barber, S.J . ^ , Rajaram, S., & Fox, E.B. ^^^ (2012) . Learning and remembering with others: The key role of retrieval in shaping group recall and collective memory. Social Cognition, 30, 121-132. 

Congleton, A.R. ^ & Rajaram, S. (2011). The influence of learning methods on collaboration: Prior repeated retrieval enhances retrieval organization, abolishes collaborative inhibition, and promotes post-collaborative memory.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140, 535-551.

Pereira-Pasarin, L.^, & Rajaram, S. (2011). Study Repetition and Divided Attention: Effects of Encoding Manipulations on Collaborative Inhibition in Group Recall. Memory & Cognition, 39, 968-976.

Barber, S.J. ^ , & Rajaram, S. (2011). Collaborative memory and part-set cueing impairments: The role of executive depletion in modulating retrieval disruption. Memory, 19, 378-397 .

Barber, S.J . ^, & Rajaram, S. (2011). Exploring the relationship between retrieval disruption from collaboration and recall. Memory, 19, 462-469.

Henkel, L. A., & Rajaram, S. (2011). Collaborative Remembering in Older Adults: Age-Invariant Outcomes in the Context of Episodic Recall Deficits. Psychology and Aging, 26, 532-545.

Rajaram, S. (2011). Collaboration Both Hurts and Helps Memory: A Cognitive Perspective.  Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 76-81.

Rajaram, S., & Pereira-Pasarin, L. ^ (2010).  Collaborative memory: Cognitive research and theory.  Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5, 649-663. 

Current Research Support:

  • Mnemonic transmission: From small groups to social networks. Co-PI: Suparna Rajaram (50% budget) (PI: Christian Luhmann). National Science Foundation (03/15/2015-02/28/2018)
  • REU Supplement: The propagation of memories within small groups and across social networks. Co-PI: Suparna Rajaram (50% budget) (PI: Christian Luhmann). National Science Foundation (03/15/2015-02/28/2018)
  • Aging and Finding Information: Using Google vs. Relying on Other People. PI: Suparna Rajaram, Google Faculty Research Award (7/1/2016-6/30/2018)
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