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Cohorts, Chronology, and Collective Memories (ICPSR 1318)

Principal Investigator(s): Schuman, Howard, University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research; Rodgers, Willard L., University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research


We asked Americans to tell us the national and world events that they believe to have been especially important since the 1930's, using replicated cross-section surveys carried out in 1985, in 2000, and September 11, 2001. Our primary interests are, first, in how collective memories change as new events occur, such as the end of the Cold War or the 9/11 terrorist attack, and second, in whether the origin of such memories during the critical period of adolescence and early adulthood, as well as their connection with education, remain stable over time and consistent with theory. As part of our investigation we consider four related issues: collective forgetting as well as collective remembering. The distinction between ease of recalling events and judgments of their importance. Compound events which are composed of sub-events that can be remembered separately by respondents. And larger social and technological changes difficult or impossible to date with any precision. Panel data from the second and third surveys, obtained shortly before and after 9/11, aid in determining which earlier collective memories were superseded by the terrorist attack itself.

Access Notes

  • These data are flagged as replication datasets and are distributed exactly as they arrived from the data depositor. ICPSR has not checked or processed this material. Users should consult the investigator(s) if further information is desired.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


Dataset - Download All Files (2.721 MB)

Study Description


Schuman, Howard, and Willard L. Rodgers. Cohorts, Chronology, and Collective Memories. ICPSR01318-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-31. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR01318.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR01318.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SES-0001844 and SES-0206472)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    assassinations, civil rights, Cold War, communication, communism, computers, Great Depression, Gulf War, Internet, political violence, September 11 attack, space exploration, terrorism, transportation, Vietnam War, World War II

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Data Collection Notes:

The files submitted are three SPSS system files: Cronologymerge1&2.,sav, Chronologymerge2&3, and Chronologypanel.sav, ArchiveMemo2005.doc, a full description of the files, and Chronology.pdf, a detailed study report.

These data are part of ICPSR's Publication-Related Archive and are distributed exactly as they arrived from the data depositor. ICPSR has not checked or processed this material. Users should consult the investigators if further information is desired.



Original ICPSR Release:   2006-01-31

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