7.3 | Constructing and Reconstructing Memories Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY100H1: Introduction to Psychology (Winter 2016) with J. Vervaeke > 7.3 | Constructing and Reconstructing Memories > Flashcards

Flashcards in 7.3 | Constructing and Reconstructing Memories Deck (6)
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The Schema: An Active Organization Process

  • the gist of a story gives us “the big picture,” or a general structure for the memory; gist is often influenced by schemas
  • schemas: organized clusters of memories that constitute one’s knowledge about events, objects, and ideas
  • Bransford and Johnson (1973): read a paragraph about a procedure, and are then told it's about doing laundry; the first time doesn't make sense, but after your laundry schema is activated, it makes much more sense
  • schemas are involved in all three stages of memory: they guide what we attend to during encoding, organize stored memories, and serve as cues when it comes time to retrieve information
  • schemas appear to be products of culture and experience
  • constructive memory: a process by which we first recall a generalized schema and then add in specific details
    • organization—some information will fit our schemas (i.e. expectations) better than others; when it does fit, it's easier to recall
    • distinctiveness—if new information is weird or unusual (doesn't fit our schemas), it'll be easier to recall; if it doesn't fit and isn't unusual, it will be forgotten; if it does fit and isn't that unusual, it'll be harder to remember
  • some evidence suggests that the ability to form schemas, particularly self-schemas, plays a critical role in our ability to form memories about our lives 


Memory Reconstruction

  • the past that we remember is influenced by our mental state and our view of ourselves in the present; "you are what you remember"
  • false memory: remembering events that did not occur, or incorrectly recalling details of an event
  • memories are reconstructed each time they're recalled, and each reconstruction is influenced by the demands of the current situation


The Perils of Eyewitness Testimony

Loftus and Palmer (1974): experiment where undergraduate research participants film clips of traffic accidents

  • participants were asked: “About how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?”
  • for some participants, the word “smashed” was replaced by “collided,” “bumped,”“contacted,” or “hit
  • the word “smashed” led to an estimate of 65.2 km/h 
  • the word “contacted” led to estimates of 51.2 km/h 
  • demonstration of the effect of question wording on memory retrieval and provided police with
  • misinformation effect: when information occurring after an event becomes part of the memory for that event

Bruck and Ceci (1999): children were asked about the behaviour of a janitor around a set of dolls; one set saw him cleaning and another set saw him being abusive

  • his behaviour was described by interviewers that were using a tone that was either accusatory, innocent, or neutral
  • when the interview's tone matched what the children saw, they were much more accurate in describing the janitor's behaviour
  • when the interview's tone didn't match what the children saw, their answers were much more likely to match the interviewer's tone


Imagination and False Memories

  • imagination inflation: the increased confidence in a false memory of an event following repeated imagination of the event 
  • guided imagery: where a guide gives instructions to participants to remember certain events; generally used in therapy and police investigations
    • it can be used to alter memories for actual events, but can also create entirely false memories


Creating False Memories in the Lab

  • DRM procedure: participants study a list of highly related words called semantic associates (i.e. they are associated by meaning) 
  • critical lure: the one word missing from a DRM list that is the most obvious member
  • when given these tests, a significant proportion participants remember the critical lure, even though it never appeared on the list
  • it happens to as many as 70% of the participants
  • telling participants about the lure reduce the chances of producing false memories
  • intrusion: when a false memory is sneaking into an existing memory; e.g. when individuals recall the critical lure
  • DRM doesn't reflect that memory is prone to mistakes, but rather that normal memory processes are constructive


The Danger of False Remembering

  • recovered memory: a memory of a traumatic event that is suddenly recovered after blocking the memory of that event for a long period of time 
    • repression: popularized by Freudian psychoanalysis; the idea that we suppress traumatic memories
  • recovered memory controversy: a heated debate among psychologists about the validity of recovered memories
    • one side: mental health clinic workers who get people to remember surpressed memories
    • another side: psychologists who say the techniques used are very similar to the ones used to create false memories in the lab
  • one way to reconcile this controversy is to use brain imaging
  • psychologists found that when people recount information that is true, the visual and other sensory areas of the brain become more active
  • when revealing falsely remembered information, these same individuals have much less activity in the sensory regions 
  • however, although these neuroimaging results are promising, these studies did not use stimuli that were as emotional as the recovered memories patients report 

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