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Lecture 15

Tuesday, Oct 30/2012 - Lecture 15

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2650
Dan Meegan

Thursday, October 30 2012 PSYC 2650 Lecture 15 This Thursday • This lecture will not be a full lecture, but rather a public forum • Come prepared with questions that you need answering • Dr. Meegan will answer any questions • Will bring in video footage from lectures that will be included on the midterm exam Flashbulb Memories • Memories of extraordinary clarity, typically for highly emotional events, retained despite the passage of many years • Memories that seem different to us than other memories (subjectively feel different) • Scientists have heard anecdotal evidence of this phenomenon, and have wondered whether these are really a different category of memory • Amemory is created and after many many years, recalling that event is still incredibly vivid and 'realistic' feeling • It doesn't feel faded or frayed in any way, which is different from the normal experience of memory • These memories are unique in a number ways ◦ Involve heightened emotional arousal • In order to verify flashbulb memories, we have to wait until the time of the event occurring in order to record original information (to verify the original facts that people are claiming to remember) Events • First time it was discussed in the public was in the years that followed the JFK assassination • Space shuttle challenger explosion • O.J. Verdict • Princess Diana's death • 1989 San Francisco earthquake • Margaret Thatcher resignation • September 11, 2001 • These events are all uniquely important to many individuals and, therefor, are likely to produce flashbulb memories Controversy over accuracy: 2 studies of Challenger explosion • Do flashbulb memories offer unique accuracy over regular memories held in the mind for similar periods of time • One day after, then 3 years later: little agreement between immediate and delayed reports ◦ We assume that the day after, memories are fairly reliable and accurate ◦ Evidence that the memories had decayed normally • Immediately after, then 9 months later: ◦ many errors were committed but: ▪ 81% accuracy from where they were ▪ 78% accuracy for who they heard the news from Fall 2001 September • First class was September 11 at 1:00 pm • First day of the semester • Memory assessed after 4 days • 100% accuracy TerroristAttack on US • Write a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding your first hearing the news, including: ◦ Where you were Accuracy/Longevity • 44 days (terrorist attack): 100% accuracy • 9 months (Shuttle explosion): max 70-80% accuracy • 3 years (Shuttle explosion): low accuracy • These experiments seem to follow Ebbinghaus's typical forgetting function • This data suggests that there is nothing unique about flashbulb memories Consequentiality • If the event has a direct impact on one's life, then it may induce a flashbulb memory • Are flashbulb memories similar to personal trauma memories? ◦ They are different because of the scope of their impact (flashbulb memories tend to be of societally significant events) ◦ We believe that the same mechanisms are at play – lingering, lasting memories that are particularly vivid and clear ◦ High emotional arousal allows us to learn from situations that caused that arousal in the past • Are flashbulb memories different for those individuals more directly impacted by the event? ◦ Yes, the more emotional arousal you have, the stronger the flashbulb memory Concepts and Categorization From ZAPS • Conceptual knowledge discussion How are Concepts Represented? • Classical view: concepts as definitions • How do you know that that particular thing shown to you is a dog? • Intuitive view: ◦ You have definitions of each terms ◦ When you look at something, you compare it to your definitions and search for a match ◦ Similar to templates that you can compare to presented patterns Concept: DOG • Creature that: ◦ Is mammalian ◦ Has four legs: What about a dog amputee? ◦ Barks: What about dogs that don't bark? ◦ Wags tail ◦ etc... Classical View • When asked whether a candidate creature is a dog, we use our checklist for our definitions • Go through the list and if everything matches up, you've found a correct match Problem with Classical View • Difficult to come up with a complete definition of most concepts • Many individuals in a category that are exceptions to general rules, but that you can still categorize accurately • Particularly abstract concepts are difficult to define Terminology • Probabilistic definitions: Introduction of flexibility in definition. For example, dogs are likely to have four legs, but not always. For example, when telling a computer how to identify a dog, you need to include probabilistic model that includes exceptions to rules (such as dogs that don't bark or dogs with amputated legs) • Family resemblence: ◦ Some categories are fuzzier than others ◦ You can think of a family you know, that if you saw a family picture of them you would have no doubt they are a family. There is quite a bit of resemblence. If you ask why this family looks like a family, your intuition would tell you that they all share one feature. ◦ Individuals might not share the same feature, but still large amounts of feature overlap which is enough to give the illusion that there is commonality that ties them all together. ◦ We think there is a single rule, but really there are many features that overlap • Necessity: Does a member of that category require certain features to belong to a category. • Sufficiency: Is there one feature that in and of itself is sufficient to categorize individuals in a category. Lab 6: Sentence Verification • How is categorical knowledge represented in semantic memory networks? • Ahypothesis... 2 Characteristics of Collins & Quillian (1969) • Hierarchical ◦ Some levels are above others ◦ Similar to OOP ◦ Can use boolean logic to capture the concept of travelling the hierarchy • Inheritance ◦ Canary inherits characteristics of superordinate levels ◦ If canary is below bird in the hierarchy, then canary inherits all of the traits of bird. There are certain characteristics that distinguish canaries from other birds, but those traits are stored at the level of the Canary, not the level of the concept Bird • This network model is and efficient way of storing/representing information ◦ It would be inefficient and redun
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