Lecture on Memory Errors and Everyday Memory

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15 Jan 2011
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Lecture 2
Autobiographical memory and the brain
Ps asked to take photos / also theres pictures taken by someone else
Few days later, Ps saw both sets again and recalled event while measuring brain activation
Both types of photos activated brain areas associated with episodic memory, but for photos taken by
self, hippocampus was especially activated
Memory over life span
Basic ideas: ppl remember better for events that happened between ages 10-30
Life-narrative hypothesis: people assume identities were formed during adolescence and young
adulthood (think/talk about those times a lot)
Cognitive hypothesis: encoding is better during periods of rapid changes followed by stability (ie: for
those who emigrated to the US after 20s have their reminiscence bump shifted to 30-40s when they
moved to new country)
Cultural life-script hypothesis: events easier to recall if their life story and culturally shared
expectations match (ie: marr y at late 20s, have children after that)
Flashbulb memories (Davidson et al, 2006)
Ps were asked to recall 9/11 and ordinary events around that time
Memories for 9/11 lacked details and became inaccurate over time, which has the same pattern as
other ordinary events
But, memories for 9/11 became more vivid and resistant to fading (confidence in belief remained high
whereas ordinary events were low)
Reasons: emotional event activated physiological processes / rehearse (nar rative rehearsal hypothesis:
constant viewing and hearing of events from others, news etc)
Schema research (Tuckey and Brewer, 2003)
Examine impact of schema on eyewitness memory
Created a film that activated bank robbery’ schema
Half of Ps saw a film that contained some ambiguous scenes like criminals may’ have guns
Other half saw a film that was not ambiguous but inconsistent with schema like apologetic speech
Results: lower recall rate and more schema consistent intrusion occurred in the ambiguous condition
in order to fit their schema expectation
Power of suggestion
Misinformation effect: misleading info presented after a person witnesses an event can change how
they describe the event later (misleading post-event information: MPI)
Confidence and accuracy dont cor relate
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