Lecture 8 - 03-11-13
Chapter & Remembering Complex Events
Avoiding Memory errors
Usually we talk about these finite/abstract things like lists of words and trying to recall them,
complex events are what happen everyday.
airplane lost power to two engines
crashed into side of building in Amsterdam
193 participants interviewed 10 months later
more than half of the participants reported seeing the crash on TV
A good number remembered. There was no video footage of the crash but they were confident
in what they had seen on TV/news. Similarly, 911, we remembered the tragedy that happened
and remembered the reactions of the State and the world. There was a study done on whether
people remembered the first plane hitting the tower; a good number remembered. Again there
was no video footage of that. People were confident that they saw it.
This is a typical office space except no books on shelves. The actual experiment is asking them to
describe the office. They say yeah there's a chair or desk; participants often report seeing books
or other typical items in an office. The fact that that happened plays a role in their schema or
idea of an office. That allows our memory to fill in some blanks. We have a general notion of the
office and we fill in the blanks when we don't know.
A hypothesis regarding memory errors
It interacts with existing knowledge as well as new information. We have an event take place,
time lapses. We call this intrusion errors. Other knowledge intrudes on the event.
If you just heard this story, it's neutral. You don't get an background or theme. This would be
considered theme (second portion of the Nancy thing). The test condition was to ask the
participants to retell the story. What was the information, what was happening? Two things to
realize: theme condition were more likely to remember the story, they could give a better
summary of it, made more intrusion errors as well as having better memory. The neutral
condition didn't remember as well but made less intrusion errors. Why is this happening? Why
does the better memory actually have more errors?
Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) Procedure
For the one we did in class, fire just seemed to fit, we brought that schema into place, it's an
intrusion error. Only happens when the word is related to the list, only when there's a reason to
put that word into the list. There has been studies done. Read the list and then participants
recall "sleep" even though it was not on the list. Schema - knowledge that's frequent
Driving down the street, driving down the highway, our general schema is road, buidlings on
side, street lights but not a palm tree. Why do we have these schematic knowledge? It helps us
remember things. If we think about it in terms of what's going on in the world, most things
happen together in the world that we're used to. Something that happens out of the blue
doesn't fit the general schema.
Schemata can help us when remembering an event
What was the first thing that happened
The last time you went to a restaurant
The last time you went to your favorite restaurant
the last time you went to a restaurant on vacation
However Schemata can also cause us to make errors when remembering an event. For example,
you might remember seeing roll up the rim posters in Timmy's even if there were none.
Memories are regularized.
Frederick/Egulac.. Natural native folklore. People filled in again what they didn't understand
about the culture or the folklore. Filled in what fit their own cultural schematic knowledge. The
story while pretty accurate had misinformation regarding British culture versus the native
regularization versus. schemata
books are remembered in an office
Footage of the plan crash is remembered, one factor is that we saw so much media coverage of
911 that we feel like we witnessed the event, YouTube clips right away.
People experience things based on the information brought in and that can be played with
which can be misleading causing changes in what people actually remember. Loftus and Palmer
1974. There was a study where people either saw slides of the car accident or video. They were
told or asked how fast they thought the cars were going when they collided with each other.
Based on the word used, people revised what they actually perceived, their memory, to more
accurately reflect that misinformation, incorporating that into memory, their confidence is high
because they don't suspect that the word influenced them. Interestingly, they had the same
participants come back weeks later and asked the same question. "Did you see broken glass on
the road?" People were in collided/smashed condition, misled, claimed to see broken glass
when in fact there were none. What they expect to happen, the schematic knowledge of an
accident also comes into play. It's not well thought out. There's actual memory of seeing this
broken glass. It's our filling in of the blanks.
other studies have shown that false autobiographical memories can be implanted, such as
participants believing they had become ill eating egg salad as children. If they were in condition
where they were told they were sick because of the sandwich, that changed the participants'
We're talking about whole events. Entire events can be implanted into memory. Imagery can be very compelling. We're talking whole events like you were at a wedding as a kid and you spilled
punch on the brides' mother's dress. Or the hot air balloon.
They took a picture of a participants and his dad years ago and photo shopped a hot air balloon.
It creates that memory, whole memories around images, not just words. Other things that they
found were if I told you, in grade 2, you did something crazy and got in trouble, everyone
remembers that. If a grade 2 picture was brought up, one you would be more inclined that
something was known about you creating more credibility on the presenter. All these things, if
you tell someone, you didn't do it, they'll say that they remember it, usually there's some
confidence in the fact that they did it.
Memory confidence; there's little relationship between our confidence in our memories and
their accuracy. Accuracy and confidence aren't related necessary. Confidence can be related to
feedback you perceive. Eyewitnesses looking at mug shots, you pick out someone. And you say
"good job", that has no effect on accuracy but it increases your confidence in your actual
correctness. All these have implications that are interesting and can be problematic. One thing
to remember is that generally our memory is good. On average, most things are normal in life
and when they are not, you pay more attention. However, there are these memory errors that
do affect us every day. In most things we remember there's some intrusion errors and
misleading information changing what we remember. We were talking about the idea of
implanting whole memories. One, a lot of times with child abuse, these things may be implanted
accidentally, just by questioning. What can be harmful is questioning children because their
brain hasn't finished developing and they don't know how to control what they're consolidating.
It's easy to convince a child that something has happened. There's regulations about who can do
that. You don't want to implicate someone falsely. At the same time, if something happens, you
want to reassure and help the child. it's this hard balancing act in coming about this. There's
studies where they showed children, where they work with the children, have lots of fun, and
they go to the parents and they saw the zookeeper put a stick on the stomach of the child,
poked him quite hard. Billy completely remembers such an event and that it hurt at the end of
the conversation. The child completely believes this and incorporates that into memory.
Another example is eyewitness testimony. It's hugely unreliable when you talk about
eyewitnesses to a crime. The memories can have misinterpreted information. Source may be
forgotten. This is all related to errors of memory.
Avoiding Memory errors
There's lots of accurate memories. So it begs the question of "how do we determine what's
accurate or not for ourselves or others?"
The feelings of "remembering" and "knowing"
Remembering is more likely with real memories
Knowing is less likely
However, there are no guarantees
There's some correlation of remembered memories as being more accurate versus those that
you know happened. There's ton that you know but doesn't mean inaccuracy. Hypnotism, can
that help accuracy?
When we talk about avoiding errors, we can talk about two t