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Lecture 10

Cognitive Psychology – Lecture 10 - Lecture Notes.docx

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PSYC 221
Richard Wright

PSYC 221 Fall Semester 2013 Cognitive Psychology – Lecture Ten Long-Term Memory – Retrieval (Part Two) Main theme: Memory is very malleable - The term that Loftus used in last week’s lecture is “Reconstruction” - The more often we remember something, the stronger the memory trace will be but more often when we recall it there is an increase of likelihood that we will reconstruct it with every recall. - Old Saying: The more times we have something that is repeated to us that is false, the more likely it will start to sound true as it is repeated over and over again. E.g. Politicians, Attacks ads “political campaigns” Part I: Eyewitness…How Reliable is it? - Elizabeth Loftus (Guest Lecturer from video last week) - Factors that Influence Eyewitness Testimony  Own-Race Bias: We are more accurate at identifying faces of people who are of the same races we are as opposed to people of another race and we are less accurate at identifying faces of people who are of a different race.  If headshots were all of a different race, the person identifying would be less accurate than if all the headshots were of their own race.  There is greater activation in the Fusiform Face Area (FFA) when looking at faces of people of their own race.  Photo Bias: Testimony can be biased by seeing photos of people in the intervening of the actual events and looking at photos of people of the event.  Caused by source misattribution (source amnesia)  Elizabeth Loftus Video: image manipulation experiment of “photo bias”  discussing survival-training study. - Photo bias  Loftus Experiment - Manipulated photos and people were given a quiz and then given a memory test - Loftus changes one of the faces during the quiz stage and then later on she gives people a choice of either an original face or the manipulated face  people began to make mistakes because they didn’t realize the face they were seeing was from the quiz phase rather than the original memory phase. - Survival Training Experiment  Different photos shown of interrogator. - Participants picking out the interrogator  often pick the wrong one, whom they were misled to believe was PSYC 221 Fall Semester 2013 their interrogator.  Weapon Focus: When someone is being mugged at gunpoint they’re not paying attention to the person because they are focused more on the gun itself.  Leading Questions: Can influence eyewitness testimony  Research has helped set guidelines of how witnesses should be interrogated right after witnessing an event  Free Recall - Shouldn’t really be asked questions - They should freely tell what they saw in their own words.  Jury puts too much weight on Eyewitness Testimony  A witness that has been hypnotized cannot be used in court anymore  hypnosis is not an effective way to recall and recover memories Loftus Experiment: “The Red Datsun Study” - Participants saw 35 slides in order, involving a car driving down a street and then stopping at an intersection and as the car starts up again it looks as though the car has hit a pedestrian. - Participants look at all the slides. - Stop Sign vs. Yield Sign Study (2 groups) - Two events of a car hitting a pedestrian - Some participants were asked a leading question in the stop sign condition and the yield sign condition “Did you see the car hit the pedestrian right after it stopped at the yield/stop sign?” - Eyewitnesses were asked if they saw a yield sign or a stop sign - Both groups were asked leading questions  influencing their testimony Another Class Example: How Fast Were The Cars Going When They: - Contacted each other  Speed estimate was lower - “Was there broken glass?” - Hit each other - Bumped into each other - Collided into each other - Smashed into each other  Speed estimate was higher * Police must be careful not to use leading questions* PSYC 221 Fall Semester 2013 People put a lot of weight on eyewitness memories when serving on the jury - There is no other evidence except the eyewitness testimony report so therefore when somebody straight away points out “that’s the person who committed the crime” they have no other choice but to follow that testimony - More than 100,000 cases per year in US were based solely on eyewitness testimony - Estimated that 10,000 are wrongly convicted on basis of faulty eyewitness testimony - Eyewitness Testimony = Human Memory Accuracy - Hypnosis does not aid recall  it increases their confidence that what they are recalling under hypnosis is true. - Factors that Affect Eye Witness Testimony:  Anxiety/Stress  Reconstructive Memory  Weapon Focus  Leading Questions Class Example: Video Clip  Eye Witness Testimony - Victim was on vacation in Vegas and was falsely accused of a crime - Accused of kidnapping and murdering of a young child - Case relies solely on the eyewitness testimonies of people that were in the scene (based on pure human memory) abandoning all other evidence - Las Vegas  November 27 1997h  7 year old Alexander Harris was left by his parents to play at the hotel’s arcade  He is later seen leaving with a stranger by witnesses, whom each later gave a description of the man  A month later, the little boy’s body was found under a trailer not too far from the hotel  6 weeks after that, Howard Haupt who had been a guest at that same hotel was arrested and flown back to Las Vegas because 5 eyewitnesses identified him after repeated use of photo line-ups  How reliable were their memories?  The girl at the video arcade who spotted the little boy supposedly saw the man as (her original disposition): - Tall - Dark Hair - Very Muscular - Wearing Reeboks  Ultimately after the police found Howard, the girl changes her story to (Reconstructive Memory/Leading Questions):  Tall  Holey Chin  Blonde Hair PSYC 221 Fall Semester 2013  Skinny  Steve Allen (one of the other 5 witnesses) and his wife were on the 2 floor of the hotel, when they saw Alexander Harris walking with the man.  At 3 different occasions, Carrie identified 3 different people in rd photo line-ups. Although the 3 line-up included Howard Haupt  the man she identified.  A month later, when the police walked her through Howard’s photograph in the photo line-up (the same pattern with all witnesses involved in the case)  Perfect example of photo bias  Howard looks familiar because she’s studied his photograph  leads to an opportunity of unconscious inference (guests recognize Howard because they might have caught a glimpse of him during his vacation at the same hotel) Loftus’ Role in instructing the jury about Memory and what its pitfalls are: - Is there a generally accepted theory on how memory works?  Memory does not work like a “video-tape recorder”  The memory process is much more complex  Memory involves 3 major stages:  Acquisition Stage: When we first see an event taking place  Retention Phase: The period of time that elapsed after the event takes place.  Retrieval Phase: When we try to recall what happened - At each of these stages, memory is subject to all sorts of influences, but the retention phase is especially vulnerable because as we all know that memory fades with the passage of time.  As time is passing and the memory is fading  memories are becoming more and more vulnerable  to what we call: Post-Event Information  Post-Event Information: New information that becomes available to a witness after the event is completely over  If that new information comes in the form of: - A witness talking to another witness - The witness being leading or suggestive questions - The witness looks at newspaper articles or sees television coverage about some event that the witness has observed  when the witness is exposed to such stimuli then the witness’ original testimony can be lead to alteration, contamination and distortions of the witness’ recollection PSYC 221 Fall Semester 2013 - Take Home Message: “When we promise to tell the truth our memory doesn’t always deliver” Part II: Recovered Memories and False Memories - Sometimes you see these TV shows and they are desperate to find out if someone can remember something about the crime so they use  hypnotism  The hypnotist can put the person under hypnosis and try and retrieve memory traces from the scene of the crime  BUT!!! This is false information  what it actually does is that people sometimes believe that they are recalling something when in fact all that they are doing is increasing their confidence that what they are recalling under hypnosis is correct.  Hypnotism’s reliability is questionable  The problem with hypnosis is: It introduces a spanner and increases confidence far more than it increases accuracy - People find themselves recalling things quite confidently that never happened and are absolutely convinced that they are right in their new found confidence and any hesitation or doubt they had before is just “misguided” - Under hypnosis, a person’s critical faculty is reduced and details can be introduced and once incorporated  they are permanent - Imagination can embellish reality - Recovered Memories  Loftus: There is no scientific credible evidence that recovered memories is even possible  There are famous court cases, in which people have remembered something from their past all of a sudden because they were in therapy or there was some event that brought back those memories “flooded back” and they remembered the crime  There have been instances where people remember something that isn’t true during a state called sleep paralysis. - Sleep Paralysis and Memory  Waking up and not being able to move  Sleep paralysis is associated with hallucination and false memories  Heaviness in chest, Hallucinations seem very real  Hallucinations: sexual conquests and/or alien abductions  People’s falsely recovered memories might have something to do with sleep paralysis  Part of our motor cortex that disables our movements while we’re sleeping, which a good thing because when this area in animals is PSYC 221 Fall Semester 2013 temporarily deactivated the animal will flop all around during REM Sleep  Humans don’t do that  If you wake up with sleep paralysis, you are waking up before the part of the motor cortex is enabled and becomes active again.  “Malcolm X” movie example  Denzel Washington (based on a book)  Malcolm X had three different lives  First life = He was a criminal breaking into people’s houses and had his own gang and steal things from people’s houses
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