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Lecture

PSYCH207 Lecture Notes - Elizabeth Loftus, Eyewitness Testimony, Recognition Memory


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH207
Professor
Jennifer Stolz

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Memory Processes
LTM: EncodingLevels of Processing
Levels of processing theory focuses how the different kinds of cognitive processing that people
perform when they encode, and later retrieve information
Maintenance Rehearsalvery poor for remembering things for a long period
o Keeping code active to maintain it, not enhance it
o Repetition
o Maintain or hold information without transferring it into deeper code
Elaborative Rehearsal
o Elaborate on meaningtrying to think of way to link the code together, expanding the
information from what you have learned before; better chance to retrieve it more
o Transfers information on a deeper code
o Provides richer multimodal codes
o Makes memory more unique and thus easier to retrieve, eg. form an image about the
code
Long Term Memory: EncodingLevels of Processing (Craik and Tulving, 1975)
“We soon forget what we have not deeply thought about”
Told Ps that they were interested about the decisions Ps made about these words eg. does word
fit in the given sentence
After studying bunch of words, they gave Ps a surprise memory test
3 types of questions were used: 1)asked whether word was printed in capital letters, 2)if target
word rhymed with another word, or 3)if the word fit into the sentence
Multiple levels of processing:
o Shallow level of processingphysical processing eg. only look at type face in this case,
capital case
o Acoustic processingto figure out what the sentence sounds like, not necessary to
know what it means
o Deeper levelmust know meaning of sentence and word given, you need to retrieve
and evaluate the word’s meaning
Y axishow long Ps took to answer questions. Memory is better for sentence decision items
than rhyme decision items than case decision items (in recognition). This result gave an
alternative explanation because Ps, had a longer time to study the items in the sentence case,
they have better memory of these. However, an experiment was conducted to show that this
was not true. They made the shallow processing difficult to do and found that memory will be
better even if you spend half the time elaborating instead of just saying it.
Recognition memory test—given correct answer among a list of distractors (words they haven’t
studied)
Found that Ps who were asked to determine if words fit into sentences showed poorer recall for
simple sentences than they did for complex sentences because the elaboration of the material

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aided in recall. The more precise the relation of the target word to context were found to likely
increase the recall of words
Biggest Criticism: Level of processing cannot be falsified
LTM: EncodingThe Generation Effect (Slamecka & Graf, 1978)
Took Ps were put in the read condition (read passively) where they were to put to read a list of
pair words. The letters denote the relationship of the pairs. Aassociation, Ccategory , R
Rhyme
In the Generate conditionthey are to generate an item given the rule that they have to follow
eg. association, category, rhyme, etc.
At the end of the study phase, give them a surprise memory testtold them to recall the words
that they passively read or generated
Memory in the Generate condition is better than memory in the reading condition
Memory is poorest when the association is rhyming because it does not have a deep meaning
compared to other associations that Ps have to study
Study Tip: Generating your own words to explain what you have learned in the lecturedo not
just read through material. On MC testsgenerate own answer than look at the choices
Story: The War of Ghosts
Bartlett rejected the lab studies of memorybelieved that LTM was an inaccurate way to
retrieve memories because it just retrieves and encodes so that it makes sense. He believed in
the real word, memory uses world knowledge and schemataframeworks for organizing
information. At retrieval time, this knowledge of information is used to reconstruct the material
Looked for main ideas and order of events when recalling story
Found that as time increased, people misinterpreted the story in a way that was consistent with
their culture and experiences
Ps unintentionally introduced distortions during recall to make the material more rational and
coherent from their point of view
Schemata is the framework for organizing memory
Autobiographical Memory
Memories from our personal past
Linton conducted an experiment based on her own autobiographical memories similar to what
Ebbinghausian didfound that real world memories are much more durable than those in lab
experiments. Found that she had the tendency to ‘zero in’ on the date and time by finding and
using different ‘markers’—thus we do not remember what we’re doing, instead we are
reconstructing it
Brewer conducted an experimenthad Ps to wear beepers, each time beeper goes off the Ps
had to record information about an event when the beeper went off. This experiment had
advantages because the experimenter was separated from the Ps.
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Then tested Ps recall of events they wrote on the card 3 times: at the conclusion of the
acquisition period, 21 months later and then 41 months later
Memory was better when event occurred in a unique location, rare actions, specific time period
(thanksgiving weekend vs normal weekday)
Flashbulb Memories
When people can recall their exact personal circumstance when heard an unexpected event
We recall these memories so easily because when we hear such news, the amygdala becomes
activated and the cognitive effects of this activation result in the storage of large amounts of
information
However, flashbulb memories can get distorted over time, the same phenomenon that
happened with the ‘War of the Ghosts’ story—people want to fill in gaps to make the story
sound like a story
Attempt to link itself with history?
The Reconstructive Nature of MemoryEye Witness Testimony (Elizabeth Loftus and Palmer, 1974)
Eye Witness Testimony is likely believed by jurors especially when it’s said in high confidence
Participants viewed a series of slidesA red Datsun came to either a stop (half of the
participants) or a yield sign (other half) before becoming involved in an accident with a
pedestrian.
o Then asked participants “ Did another car pass the red Datsun while it stopped at the
stop sign” and to the other group “Did another car pass the red Datsun while it was
stopped at the yield sign”
o After they were given an unrelated task, they were presented a recognition test of
several slides showing whether Datsun stopped at the stop sign or at the yield signPs
decide which slide they’ve seen—inconsistency in the questioning had a lower accuracy
rate
Subjects were shown short films and witnessed whether a car crashing into another car or into
another object
Every Ps watched the same film
Followed the film, researcher asked about how fast were the cars going when they ______ each
other? The blank is filled in with different verbs like smashed, collided, bumped hit, and
contacted.
Ps were asked to estimate the speed of the cars. There was huge effect depending on the verb
used like smashed vs hit
Ps were asked to hold the information for the same amount of time (retention time) but the
only thing that is changed is the verb
This is important because when authorities ask what speed is goingpeople are likely to report
the same results as experiment
More neutral language will help to avoid contamination of memory
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