When cultures have different norms for the same situation, does culture affect memory by influencing the weight individuals assign to information or also by affecting the meaning of information itself, influencing memory via categorization? We present 4 experiments showing that, in relying on contrasting cultural norms of reciprocity (Studies 1 and 2) and spiritual purity (Studies 3 and 4), Indians and Americans differ in their interpretation of and memory for identical information. Studies 1 (N = 123) and 3 (N = 78), utilizing cued-recall, and Studies 2 (N = 143) and 4 (N = 79), utilizing multiple-choice incidental-memory tests, show cultural differences in memory and categorization in culturally relevant normative domains. In Studies 1 and 2 Americans, applying their own culture-specific reciprocity norms, were more likely than Indians to interpret gifts given after receiving help as implying reciprocity. Hence, Americans (and not Indians) tended to categorize information about gifts in terms of whether it was norm-consistent or inconsistent, evidenced by memory that reflected greater within-category confusions. In Studies 3 and 4 Indians, applying their own culture-specific norms of purity, were more likely than Americans to interpret images of shoes on sacred objects as implying spiritual impurity. Thus, Indians (and not Americans) tended to categorize information about shoes in terms of whether it was norm-violating or nonviolating, evidenced by memory that reflected greater within-category confusions. Applying culturally variable norms to the same situation leads to different understandings of the same behavior, resulting in memory that reflects norm-based spontaneous categorization. We highlight the role that culture-specific norms play in cognitively predisposing individuals to organize information in the environment.