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Transactive memory is the process whereby people remember things in relationships and groups. Each person does not need to remember everything the group needs to know, after all, if each person merely stores in memory information about who is likely to have a particular item in the future. This capacity for remembering who knows what is the key to transactive memory, as introduced by Wegner, Giuliano, and Hertel (1985) and Wegner (1986).
Transactive memory suggests an analysis not only of how couples and families in close relationships coordinate memory and tasks in the home, but how larger groups and organizations come to develop a "group mind," a memory system that is more complex and potentially more effective than that of any of the individuals that comprise it.
- Wegner, D. M., Giuliano, T., & Hertel, P. (1985). Cognitive interdependence in close relationships. In W. J. Ickes (Ed.), Compatible and incompatible relationships (pp. 253-276). New York: Springer-Verlag.
- Wegner, D. M. (1986). Transactive memory: A contemporary analysis of the group mind. In B. Mullen & G. R. Goethals (Eds.), Theories of group behavior (pp. 185-208). New York: Springer-Verlag.
- Wegner, D. M., Erber, R., & Raymond, P. (1991). Transactive memory in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 923-929.
- Wegner, D. M. (1995). A computer network model of human transactive memory. Social Cognition, 13, 1-21.
- Wegner's Transactive Memory Site Links to Wegner's transactive memory papers are available here.