Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Claremont McKenna College
ABSTRACT | US and Germany’s Collective Memory of Pride and Shame for US and German History
How does being a national of a country affect our perception of that country’s past? The current work examined collective memory for participants’ own nation compared to a foreign nation. US citizens generated events they are proud and ashamed of from US history and events they thought German citizens should be proud and ashamed of from their history. German citizens did the same. Germans and Americans nominated somewhat similar events for themselves and for each other, suggesting that participants tend to consider their country’s history from the world’s perspective when they are cued to think about pride and shame. Interestingly, both within and across countries, participants agreed more on what events nations should be ashamed of. There were far more varied and idiosyncratic responses for what nations should be proud of. Event contents and event characteristics (e.g., specificity, location) were analyzed and compared across countries.