Collaborative inhibition is a phenomenon that causes members of a collaborative group to remember less information than an equal number of single individuals. A study conducted compared the recall of a four member collaborative group to four individuals who worked alone.
Collaborative group recall was consistently found to be lower than the collective recall for the four individuals. Research suggests that collaborative inhibition occurs because group members often disturb each other’s memory retrieval strategies when they are all recalling as a group.
For instance, a group of individuals is formed to research and report on a topic. They work together as group sometimes and individually at times over the course of a few weeks. Due to collaborative inhibition, when it comes time for their presentation each individual will be able to recall more information that they worked on independently rather than what they learned and worked on as a group. This concept is important for circumstances such as juror decision making, workplace committees, and collaborative learning efforts.