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Flashcards in Everyday Memory Deck (45):
1

Autobiographical memory (AM) has been defined as ..

Autobiographical memory (AM) has been defined as recollected events that belong to a persons past (Rubin, 2005).

2

Autobiographical memory (AM) has been defined as recollected events that belong to a persons past (Rubin, 2005). What types of memory are involved?

Both episodic and semantic memory.

3

Theoretically is there a way to predict the amount of either episodic or semantic memory of an autobiographical memory?

One of the factors that determines the relative proportions of episodic and semantic components in AM is how long ago the event to be remembered occurred. Memories of recent events that are rich in perceptual details and emotional content are dominated by episodic memory.

4

What do we know about when people remember events over their life span?

When participants over 40 are asked to remember events in their lives their memory is high for recent events, but also for events occurring in adolescence and early adulthood. This surprising finding is called the reminiscence bump.

5

What is the reminiscence bump?

The finding that people over 40 years have significantly better memory from their adolescence and early adulthood than would be predicted if memory decayed linearly with time.

6

Mention three accepted hypotheses for the reminiscence bump.

1. The self-image hypothesis.
2. The cognitive hypothesis.
3. The cultural life script hypothesis.

7

The finding that people over 40 years have significantly better memory from their adolescence and early adulthood than would be predicted if memory decayed linearly with time is called the reminiscence bump. One hypothesis for this is the self-image hypothesis. Elaborate.

Clare Rathborne and coworkers (2008) proposed that memory is enhanced for events that occur as a person's self-image or life identity is being formed.

8

The finding that people over 40 years have significantly better memory from their adolescence and early adulthood than would be predicted if memory decayed linearly with time is called the reminiscence bump. One hypothesis for this is the cognitive hypothesis. Elaborate.

The cognitive hypothesis for the reminiscence bump proposes that periods of rapid change that are followed by stability cause stronger encoding of memories. Adolescence and young adulthood fit this description because the rapid changes that occur during these periods are followed by the relative stability of adult life.

9

The finding that people over 40 years have significantly better memory from their adolescence and early adulthood than would be predicted if memory decayed linearly with time is called the reminiscence bump. One hypothesis for this is the cultural life script hypothesis. Elaborate.

This explanation distinguishes between a person's life story, which is all of the events that have occurred in a person's life, and a cultural life script, which are culturally expected events that occur at a particular time in the life span. When asking participants when important events in a typical person's life usually occur, these events usually occurred during the period associated with the reminiscence bump.

10

Clare Rathborne and coworkers (2008) proposed that memory is enhanced for events that occur as a person's self-image or life identity is being formed. Did they just make this shit up?

They based this idea on the results of an experiment in which a group of participants with an average age of 54 created "I am" statements, such as "I am a mother" or "I am a psychologist" , that they felt defined them as a person. They were then asked when each statement had become a significant part of their identity. The average age participants assigned to these statements was 25 years, which is within the span of the reminiscence bump.

11

The cognitive hypothesis for the reminiscence bump proposes that periods of rapid change that are followed by stability cause stronger encoding of memories. Adolescence and young adulthood fit this description because the rapid changes that occur during these periods are followed by the relative stability of adult life. Is there any evidence for this?

The cognitive hypothesis would predict that the reminiscence bump should occur later for people who have had rapid changes in their life that occurred at a time later than adolescence or young adulthood. To test this idea, Robert Schrauf and David Rubin (1998) determined the recollections of people who had emigrated to the United States either in their 20s or in their mid-30s. The findings indicated that those that had emigrated later, did also have a later reminiscence bump.

12

What do we know about what kind of events are remembered over a life span?

A characteristic of most memorable events is that they are significant and important to the person and, in many cases, are associated with emotions.

13

Memory and emotion. What evidence is there?

Florin Dolcos and coworkers (2005) tested participant's ability to recognise emotional and neutral pictures one year after they were initially presented and observed better memory of the emotional pictures. In the same experiment, fMRI brain scans measured as people were remembering, and revealed that amygdala activity was higher for the emotional words. The amygdala is a structure associated with both memory and emotion.

14

The amygdala is a brain structure associated with both memory and emotion. What evidence is there for this?

Probably a lot of correlational studies in which the amygdala is shown to be more active during emotional stimulation or recall. There is also one case study (no double dissociation though) of a patient B.P. who had suffered damage to his amygdala. When participants without brain damage viewed a slide show about a boy and his mother in which the boy is injured halfway though the story, these participants had enhanced memory for the emotional part of the story. B.P.'s memory was the same as that of the non-brain-damage participants for the first part of the study, but it was not enhanced for the emotional part.

15

Who coined the term flashbulb memory, and what is it?

Roger Brown and James Kulik (1977) owned the term flashbulb memory to refer to a person's memory for the circumstances surrounding hearing about shocking, high charged events. They did this because there seems to be something special about these types of memories. They are remembered for long periods of time and are especially vivid and detailed. Brown and Kulik thought it likely that these events were remembered correctly, and while that probably is not true the events are still remembered.

16

What is a very likely explanation for the "flashbulb memories"?

The narrative rehearsal hypothesis proposed by Ulric Neisser and coworkers (1996) argue we may remember events (like those that happened on 9/11 ) not because of a special mechanism, but because we rehearse these events after they occur (media, relevance persistency and so on).

17

A psychology professor mentions that bla bla bla "the constructive nature of memory". What is she on about?

What people report as memories are instructed by the person based on what actually happened plus additional factors, such as the person's knowledge, experiences, and expectations. This approach to memory is called constructive because the mind constructs memories based on a number of sources of information.

18

One of the first experiments to suggest that memory is constructive was ...

Bartlett's "War of the Ghosts" experiment.

19

One of the first experiments to suggest that memory is constructive was Bartlett's "War of the Ghosts" experiment. Elaborate.

The British psychologist Fredrick Bartlett conducted a classic study of the constructive nature of memory, known as the "War of the Ghosts" experiment. In this experiment, which Bartlett ran before World War I and published in 1932, his participants read a story from the Canadian folklore. They were then called back to recall the tale, this would happen at longer and longer intervals. Their mistakes and inaccuracies in memory followed a pattern in which the tale became influenced by the English culture.

20

In Bartlett's "War of the Ghosts" experiment the participants' recollection of the story became influenced by their knowledge of their own culture. Name this effect.

This is a source monitoring error, or a source misattribution. They remember the tale as the one they read, but they do not remember that some of the information in their memory stems from a source other than the tale - their own culture.

21

Mention an experiment on the source monitoring error (not Bartlett)

Larry Jacoby and coworkers (1989) demonstrated an effect of source monitoring error by testing participants' ability to distinguish between famous and non-famous names. Participants read a list of non-famous names and did an immediate test and a delayed test (24h later). They were very accurate in the immediate test, but made errors in the delayed test. Probably, they all felt a sense of familiarity in the delayed test - having seen both famous and non-famous names previously. It is interesting that they did not manage to locate the source of this sense of familiarity.

22

What is a script?

A script is our conception of the sequence of actions that usually occur during a particular experience.

23

How can scripts influence memory?

They set up expectations about what usually happens in a particular situation. Gordon Bower and coworkers (1979) did an experiment in which participants were asked to remember short passages about familiar activities such as going to the dentist, going swimming, or going to a party. After a delay period the participants were given the titles of the stories and they were told to write down what they remembered about each story. Their versions of the stories included material that wasn't presented in the original story, but is typical for the activity described.

24

What is the misinformation effect?

The misinformation effect is a phenomenon in which a person's memory for an event is modified by things that happen after the event has occurred.

25

Who is the best known researcher on the misinformation effect?

Elizabeth Loftus!

26

Describe Elizabeth Loftus and Steven Palmer's (1974) experiment.

Loftus and Steven Palmer (1974) showed participants films of a car crash and asked either 1) "How fast were the cars going when the smashed into each other?" or 2) "How fast were the cars going when they hit each other"? The speed estimate was much higher (41mph to 34 mph) if they'd heard the word "smashed". 32% of the smashed group (14% hit group ) would also report having seen broken glass, even though they hadn't. There is just one word difference between the two groups!

27

The book proposes three different explanations for the misinformation effect. Which?

1. Memory trace replacement
2. Retroactive interference
3. Source monitoring error

28

The book proposes three different explanations for the misinformation effect. One of which is the memory trace replacement hypothesis. Explain.

The memory trace replacement hypothesis states that misleading post event information (MPI) impairs memories that were formed during the original experiencing of a event. The process of reconsolidating could provide a physiological mechanism for this replacement.

29

The book proposes three different explanations for the misinformation effect. One of which is the retroactive interference hypothesis. Explain.

The retroactive interference hypothesis proposes that misleading post event information (MPI) causes retroactive interference of the memory. Retroactive interference is when more recent learning interferes with memory for something that happened in the past. This is very similar to the memory trace replacement hypothesis, except for the memory not being replaced but interfered with.

30

The book proposes three different explanations for the misinformation effect. One of which is the source monitoring error hypothesis. Explain.

The source monitoring error hypothesis proposes that the misleading post event information (MPI) is misattributed as the original memory. In Stephen Lindsay's 1990 study, the MPI was either more or less difficult to distinguish from the original source. When more easily distinguished (male narrator of video in the MPI vs female in the original), the memory mistakes performed were not significantly higher than that of the control group.

31

So we know that people can become confused by MPI ( misleading post event information), but they can also be given completely false new memories. What evidence is there for this?

Ira Hyman, Jr. and coworkers (1995) created false memories for long ago events in an experiment in which they contacted the parents of their participants and asked them to provide descriptions of actual events that happened when the participants were children. The experimenters then also created descriptions of false events, ones that never happened, such as a birthday that included a clown and a pizza, and spilling a bowl of punch at a wedding reception. On the first interview, most participants attested they did not recall the false memories. A second interview revealed that many participants now remembered the false memories and had added to them.

32

What is problematic about police line ups?

Wells & Bradfield (1998) had people watch a security videotape in which a gunman was in view for 8 seconds and then were asked to pick the gunman from photographs. Every participant picked someone they thought was the gunman, even though his picture was not included in the photospread. In another study, using a similar experimental design, 61% of the participants picked someone from a photo spread, evne though the perpetrator's picture wasn't included. (Keller et al., 2001)

33

The book identifies four potential sources of errors in eyewitness testimony. Which?

1. Errors associated with attention.
2. Errors due to familiarity
3. Errors due to suggestion
4. The effect of post event questioning.

34

One potential source of error in eyewitness testimony are errors associated with attention. How so?

In stressful situations, attention might not be focused on the information that would later become important in the justice system. Research on this has particularly targeted a phenomenon known as weapons focus.

35

One potential source of error in eyewitness testimony are errors due to familiarity. How so?

Crimes not only involve a perpetrator and a victim, but often include innocent bystanders. There is a chance that a bystander could be mistakenly identified as a perpetrator because of familiarity from some other context.

36

One potential source of error in eyewitness testimony are errors due to suggestion. How so?

The questions in police interviews can suggest false memories. For instance: "Did you see the white car", or "Which of these men did it?"

37

One potential source of error in eyewitness testimony is the effect of post event questioning. How so?

A surprising 2009 study by Jason Chan and coworkers had participants watch a tape from the television program 24. Then they were split into two groups. One group then did a cued recall test, while the other played a computer game. Both groups were then distracted (for memory decay), then given misinformation about the video, then both groups were quizzed on the same cued recall test. The results, which Chan called the reverse testing effect, shows that taking a recall test right after seeing the program increased participants' sensitivity to the misinformation. This effect is puzzling.

38

What is weapons focus?

Weapons focus refers to the tendency to focus attention on a weapon and how this results in witnesses missing relevant information such as the perpetrator's face.

39

What research has been done on weapons focus?

Claudia Stanny and Thomas Johnson (2000) studied weapons focus by measuring how well participants remembered details of a filmed simulated crime. They found that participants were more likely to recall details of the perpetrator, the victim, and the weapon in the "no-shoot" condition (weapon present, not fired) than in the "shoot"-condition (weapon fired). Kerri Pickel (2009) found that people's ability to describe the perpetrator of a staged crime was affected more by the presence of a weapon if the perpetrator was female rather than male.

40

Mention a famous case of eyewitness error due to familiarity.

Donald Thompson, a memory researcher who was talking about memory errors on a TV program at exactly the time that a woman was attacked in her home. The woman, who had been watching Thompson on the program, subsequently implicated Thompson as the person who had raped her, based on her memory for his face. Of course, Thompson had a perfect alibi because he was in the TV studio at the time of the crime (Schacter, 2001)

41

What research has been done on the way familiarity can influence eyewitness testimony?

Ross et al. (1994) had participants in the experimental group watch a film of a male teacher reading to students, while participants in the control group saw a film of a female teacher reading to students. Participants from both groups then saw a film of the female teacher getting robbed and were asked to pick the rober from a photo spread. The photographs did not include the actual robber, but did include the male teacher, who resembled the robber. The results indicate that participants in the experimental group were three times more likely to pick the male teacher than were participants in the control group.

42

One of the problems of eyewitness testimony is that errors can occur due to suggestion. What research has been done on this?

Gary Wells and Amy Bradfield (1998) had participants view a video of an actual crime and then asked them to identify the perpetrator from a photo spread that did not actually contain a picture of the perpetrator. All of the participants picked one, and following their choice, witnesses received either confirming feedback from the experimenter ("Good, you identified the suspect"), no feedback, or disconfirming feedback ("Actually, the suspect was number ..."). A short time later, the participants were asked how confident they were about their identification. The results indicate that participants who received the confirming feedback were more confident of their choice.

43

Gary Wells and Amy Bradfield (1998) had participants view a video of an actual crime and then asked them to identify the perpetrator from a photo spread that did not actually contain a picture of the perpetrator. All of the participants picked one, and following their choice, witnesses received either confirming feedback from the experimenter ("Good, you identified the suspect"), no feedback, or disconfirming feedback ("Actually, the suspect was number ..."). A short time later, the participants were asked how confident they were about their identification. The results indicate that participants who received the confirming feedback were more confident of their choice. In what way is this relevant?

It shows that witnesses are very likely to chose a suspect if they are told to (even though the perpetrator is not in the lineup). It also shows that witnesses can become falsely sure of their choice if suggested.

44

Gary Wells and Amy Bradfield (1998) had participants view a video of an actual crime and then asked them to identify the perpetrator from a photo spread that did not actually contain a picture of the perpetrator. All of the participants picked one, and following their choice, witnesses received either confirming feedback from the experimenter ("Good, you identified the suspect"), no feedback, or disconfirming feedback ("Actually, the suspect was number ..."). A short time later, the participants were asked how confident they were about their identification. The results indicate that participants who received the confirming feedback were more confident of their choice. Wells and Bradfield call this increase in confidence due to confirming feedback after making an identification the ...

post-identification feedback effect.

45

The first step toward correcting the problem of inaccurate eyewitness testimony is to recognise that the problem exists. This has been achieved, largely through the efforts of memory researchers and attorneys and investigators for unjustly convicted people. The next step is to propose specific solutions. Cognitive psychologists have made suggestions. The book refers to 5. Which

1. When asking a witness to pick the perpetrator from a lineup, inform the witness that the perpetrator may not be in the particular lineup he or she is viewing.
2. When constructing a lineup, use "fillers" who are similar to the suspect.
3. When presenting a lineup, use sequential rather than simultaneous presentation.
4. Use a "blind" lineup administrator and get an immediate confidence rating.
5. Improve interviewing techniques.