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Department of Cognitive Science

Collective Cognition Research Group

Our interdisciplinary Collective Cognition Research Group was started by Professor Amanda Barnier, a cognitive psychologist, and Professor John Sutton, a philosopher, and initially supported by an ARC Australian Research Fellowship and 5 year Discovery Project (2007-11). Our members continue to be supported by ARC Discovery Projects and ARC Fellowships (e.g., Future Fellowship, DECRA).

The Collective Cognition Research Group also has links with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), and in particular the CCD's Memory Program.

We integrate psychological, philosophical and other approaches to explore individual memory, individual memory in small groups and small-group collective memory. Motivated by philosophical theories such as distributed cognition, we use and extend experimental memory paradigms in innovative ways to bridge the gap between the laboratory and everyday memory phenomena.

Our research has focused for instance on:

  • The costs and benefits of remembering together versus alone in real world groups with a long history of shared encoding and retrieval, such as siblings, friends, work colleagues, and married couples;
  • The potential of shared remembering to compensate for and/or protect older adults from the effects of cognitive decline and very early dementia;
  • Patterns of shared remembering in family dyads and groups across generations, such as mothers and children, mothers and fathers, grandparents and grandchildren, young children from the same family;
  • The memory strategies that characterise and predict successful memory performance; and
  • Other forms of group memory performance, especially more procedural memory shown by skilled sporting teams players.

The Collective Cognition Group welcomes researchers and practitioners from all disciplines and counts among its members and visitors: cognitive, developmental, clinical, organisational and neuropsychologists; philosophers, historians, anthropologists, literary theorists, English scholars, sociologists, neuroscientists and many others.

We host an Annual Memory Day in November or December and regularly host leading national and international scholars.


Research Group Leaders

Current Researchers

Current Students


  • Lucas Bietti, Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Neuchatel
  • Dr Richard Heersmink, Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University.
  • Dr Marina Trakas


International Collaborators


  • Ms Dorothy Curtis, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University