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Memory Errors, Memory Gaps. Reasons why we remember so much and so little at the same time. Semantic activation & Inferences Schemas Update of memory . Memory and its failures. Semantic Activation. Example: You will hear a list of words, once the list ends, recall as many words as possible

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memory errors memory gaps

Memory Errors, Memory Gaps

Reasons why we remember so much and so little at the same time...

semantic activation
Semantic Activation
  • Example:
    • You will hear a list of words, once the list ends, recall as many words as possible
    • Bed, Rest, Awake, Snooze, Tired, Dream, Blanket, Doze, Slumber, Snore, Nap, Yawn, Drowsy
    • Missing word: ‘sleep’
inference in recognition memory

with the hammer

with the hammer

Inference in Recognition Memory
  • John was trying to fix the bird house. He was pounding the nail when his father came out to watch him and to help him do the work.
  • John was trying to fix the bird house. He was looking for the nail when his father came out to watch him and to help him do the work.

Recognition test: “John was using the hammer to fix the bird house when his father came out to watch him and to help him do the work.”

slide5

Schema (script):

A high-level representation of knowledge about familiar situations.

Schemata help us to deal with the world efficiently by representing those aspects of our experience that are usually the same from one time to another…

event schema script going to a restaurant
Enter

Walk into restaurant

Look for table

Decide where to sit

Go to table

Sit down

Order

Get menu

Choose food

Waiter arrives

Give orders to waiter

Wait, talk

Cook prepares food

Eat

Cook gives food to waiter

Waiter delivers food

Eat

Talk

Leave

Waiter delivers bill

Examine bill

Calculate tip

Leave tip

Get belongings

Pay bill

Leave restaurant

Event Schema (script): Going to a restaurant
office stuff schema
“Office Stuff” Schema
  • Good memory for:
    • atypical items: wine bottle, skull
    • items consistent with schema: desk, chair (response bias?)
  • Poor memory for:
    • Infrequent items consistent with schema: bulletin board
  • False memory for things
    • Frequent items consistent with schema but absent (books)
memory update misinformation effect
Memory Update: Misinformation Effect

• See event:film of two-car accident

• Receive misinformation

    • When the cars smashed each other,
    • When the cars hit each other,
  • Memory test: the speed was …
    • a) “smashed” (41 mph)
    • b) “hit” (34 mph)

Is this a ‘memory’ distortion, or a report bias?

A week later: Did you see broken glass? (correct answer: no)

a) “smashed”: 32% yes

b) ‘hit’: 14% yes

(Elizabeth Loftus)

(Loftus & Palmer, 1974)

misinformation effect another example
Misinformation Effect: Another example

• See event:film of two-car accident

• Receive misinformation: ‘...as the car passed the

    • “stop sign” (non-mislead Ss)
    • “yield sign” (mislead Ss)
  • Memory test: Did the car pass a:

stop sign OR yield sign? Misled subjects make error

stop sign OR no-U turn sign? Misled subjects better than chance (50%)

(McCloskey & Zaragoza, 1985)

is the original memory lost

stop

yield

“yield”

time

event

misinformation

new memory

Is the original memory lost?

stop

• False memory does not supplant original memory.

  • False memory stronger than original memory.
relevance to criminal justice system
Relevance to Criminal Justice System
  • most obvious case
    • crime --> study
    • picture of suspect --> misinformation
    • Lineup --> test
  • Eyewitness may recognize suspect from police display, not from crime scene.
  • Conclusions:
    • Do not let potential witnesses see suspects.
    • Interrogate without asking leading questions (Capturing the Freedmans)
  • Further sources of error:
    • newspaper stories, etc.
slide13

Memory Contamination & Psychotherapy

  • Therapist repeatedly asks child about abuse at day care
  • center. Eventually, child “remembers” abuse.
  • Therapist repeatedly asks woman about childhood abuse.
  • Eventually, woman “recovers repressed memory” of abuse.
  • Are these repressed memories or false memories?
  • Big debate! (Loftus vs. Freyd)
slide14

Mechanisms of Forgetting

1. Decay of Traces (??)

2. Retrieval Failure

3. Interference from new material

slide15

Method: Paired-Associate Learning

Study phase:

CHAIR-92

FROG-41

Test phase:

CHAIR? Correct answer: 92.

slide16

Retroactive Interference

Group 1 Group 2

1. Learn A-B List Learn A-B List

2. Learn A-C List ----

3. Test on A-B List Test on A-B List

^^^^^^^^^

This Groups Performs

Worse.

The process of learning the A-C list causes active disruption of the A-B memories.

slide17

Proactive Interference

Group 1 Group 2

1. Learn A-C List ----

2. Learn A-B List Learn A-B List

3. Test on A-B List Test on A-B List

^^^^^^^^^

This Groups Performs

Worse.

slide18

Does Decay Exist, too?

  • Hard to test!
  • Reisberg:
  • Cockroaches.
  • Sleep (Jenkins & Dallenbach)
slide19

From the Courage To Heal, by Bass & Davis, 1988

You may think that you don’t have memories, but often as

you begin to talk about what you do remember, there

emerges a constellation of feelings, reactions, and recollections

that add up to substantial information. To say, “I was abused,”

you don’t need the kind of recall that would stand up in a

court of law. Often the knowledge that you were abused

starts with a tiny feeling, an intuition ... Assume your feelings

are valid. So far, no one we’ve talked to thought she might have

been abused, and then later discovered that she hadn’t been.

The progression always goes the other way, from suspicion

to confirmation. If you think you were abused and your life

shows the symptoms, then you were.

(p. 22).