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Cognitive Science. Jose Tabares Psych 202B January 23, 2006. Creating False Memories: Remembering Words Not Presented in Lists. Henry L. Roediger III and Kathleen B. McDermott Rice University Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 1995, Vol 21, No.4, 803-814.

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cognitive science

Cognitive Science

Jose Tabares

Psych 202B

January 23, 2006


Creating False Memories:Remembering Words Not Presented in Lists.Henry L. Roediger IIIandKathleen B. McDermottRice UniversityJournal of Experimental Psychology:Learning, Memory, and Cognition1995, Vol 21, No.4, 803-814

false memories
False Memories
  • Remembering events that never happened.
  • Or, remembering them quite differently from the way they happened.
reconstructing memories
Reconstructing Memories
  • Sir Frederic Bartlett, a prominent English psychologist.
  • Had his subjects read “War of the Ghosts”
  • Subjects read the story twice and waited 15 minutes.
  • Then they were asked to write down the tale as best they could recall it.
war of the ghosts
War of the Ghosts
  • So what did Bartlett find?
  • Subjects frequently changed the story.
  • Bartlett concluded that the subjects reconstructed the story to fit with their established schemas.
  • Reproductive memory
  • Reconstructive memory
  • Hits (Hit) – number of words from List A recognized (out of 15)
  • Correct Rejections (CR) – number of words not on List A that were correctly identified as not being on the list.
  • Misses (Miss) – number of words on the list that were not recognized.
  • False Alarms (FA) – number of words indicated as being on the list that were, in fact, not.
roediger and mcdermott
Roediger and McDermott
  • Two experiments
  • Modeled after J. Deese’s 1959 study.
  • Sweet: sour, candy, sugar, bitter, good, taste, tooth, nice, honey, soda, chocolate, heart, cake, tart, and pie.
  • First recall test
  • Then recognition test.
  • Studies of memory suggest that people can have the subjective experience of remembering an event that never actually occurred. This happens either when people mistakenly associate a memory with the wrong source, or when they have seen so many things consistent with the event that the event that did not happen is somehow represented as well.

Contextual Prerequisites for Understanding:Some Investigation of Comprehension and RecallJohn D. Bransford and Marcia K. JohnsonState University of New York, Stony BrookJournal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 717-726.

  • Involves the recovery and interpretation of the abstract deep structural relations underlying sentences.
  • One type of error occurs because the act of comprehending sentences often includes plausible inferences, and the results of these inferences may be indistinguishable in memory from information actually given (Bransford, Barclay, and Frank, 1972).
  • Three turtles rested on a floating log and a fish swam beneath it.
  • Subjects create semantic products that are a joint function of input information and prior knowledge.
experiment 1
Experiment 1
  • “Would subjects who receive appropriate prerequisite knowledge be able to comprehend the passage quite easily, and hence would subsequently be able to recall it relatively well.”
  • Acquisition phase followed by two tasks—

comprehension rating and recall.

  • Five groups

-No Context

-No Context 2

-Context After

-Partial Context

-Context Before

  • Context Before Group had the best recall and rated the passage easier to comprehend than the other groups.
experiments 2
Experiments 2
  • Experiment 2 heard one a shorter version of a passage on washing clothes.
  • Three groups

-No Topic

-Topic Before

-Topic After

experiment 3
Experiment 3
  • Experiment 3 heard a passage similar but longer than the groups in Experiment 2.
  • Only two groups

-Topic Before

-Topic After

experiment 4
Experiment 4
  • The groups in Experiment 4 heard a passage on making a kite
  • Again, three groups

-No topic

-Topic before

-Topic After

  • Both in Experiment 2 and 3, the Topic Before groups rated the passage easier to comprehend than the other group(s).
  • Also, then showed better recall.
  • Similar results occurred in Experiment 4.
  • Prior knowledge for a situation does not guarantee its usefulness for comprehension.
  • For maximum benefit, the appropriate information must be present during the ongoing process of comprehension.