Associative Memory and Belief Formation
NBER Working Paper No. 26664
Information is often embedded in memorable contexts, which may cue the asymmetric recall of similar past news through associative memory. We design a theory-driven experiment, in which participants observe signals about hypothetical companies. Here, identical signal realizations are communicated with identical contexts: stories and images. Because participants asymmetrically remember those past signals that get cued by the current context, beliefs systematically overreact. This overreaction depends in predictable ways on the signal history; the correlation between signals and contexts; and the scope for forgetting and associative memory. We quantify these results by structurally estimating a model of associative recall.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26664