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Lecture 8

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University of Toronto St. George
Connie Boudens

Lecture 8 - 03-11-13 Chapter & Remembering Complex Events Lecture outline Memory errors Avoiding Memory errors autobiographical memory Usually we talk about these finite/abstract things like lists of words and trying to recall them, complex events are what happen everyday. Memory Errors E.g. 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. E.g. Nancy... 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 culture. 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. Misinformation effect 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' behaviour. 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
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