Greeks' and Germans' representations of world events: Selective memory and voluntary oblivion

  • Anna Madoglou Panteion University
  • Anastassia Melista Panteion University
  • Sylvia Liaris-Hochhaus Panteion University


This research investigates events composing world social memory and oblivion. Participants, 243 Greek and German students, were asked to write three world history events that they wished to remember and three others that they wished to forget and then to evaluate them in terms of their positiveness and importance. Correspondence Analysis (SPAD) was applied to data. Results indicated that: a) All the events of world social memory and oblivion are important. Pleasant and positive events are arranged in social world memory whereas unpleasant and negative ones in social oblivion. b) Τhe content of world social memory is objectified in World War II and the socio-political events that occurred in Europe during the second half of the 20th century. c) World social memory is Eurocentric and is characterized by recency or “last years/century” bias. d) Membership in a national group functions as a filter for the choice of world historical past. Greeks and Germans are anchored to their own historical past.

Author Biographies

Anna Madoglou, Panteion University

ANNA MADOGLOU is Associate Professor in Social Psychology at the Panteion
University of Athens. Her research interests focus on social influence processes, minority activity, social representations and social memory. Her last book published in Greek explores the explicit (=social memory) and implicit (social oblivion) forms of social thought.

Anastassia Melista, Panteion University

ANASTASSIA MELISTA is Psychologist and Teacher in Primary Education. She
received her PhD in Social Psychology from the Department of Psychology at the
Panteion University of Athens. Her research interests are the development of national identities, social representations, immigration and social memory.

Sylvia Liaris-Hochhaus, Panteion University

SYLVIA LIARIS – HOCHHAUS is Psychologist (Panteion University of Athens) and
Counselor of mental health (University of Strathclyde, Scotland). Her research interests focus on social memory (intergroup comparisons) and burnout. She lives and works in Mainz, Germany.

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