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Lecture 6

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Lecture 6 Everyday Memory recording 41 Key Themes 1. Structure vs. Function 2. Bottom-up vs. Top-down processing --> top-down: big influence on what we remember Autobiographical Memories  Memories about ourselves that consist of episodic and semantic memories  semantic: fact about self --> autobiographic  episodic: active character in memory --> involved in the event or scene --> autobiographic  if just witnessing --> not autobiographic  we have to be involved in it --> we are active --> we are doing things --> autobiographic  not passive --> not witnessing --> episodic  Researchers are concerned with quality not quantity --> as with LTM (autobiographical memories is a form of LTM)  How accurate are our personal memories? Reminiscence Bump   Memories of life events tends to peak in adolescence or early adulthood – this is known as the reminiscence bump  memory for that period tend to be positive memories --> “good old days” --> remembered the best  might recall and elaborate often and memories are quite distinct  Reminiscence bump is observed for mundane things and semantic memory too  Reminiscence bump is observed for preferences and self-reported important world events  semantic: remember better for who won world-series / academy award for their twenties than a few years ago --> but it is mundane and not that important -->  current events: report of influential event --> things happened in their early twenties seem more important --> stick out of memory --> doesn’t mean important things stop happening --> just that it seems that this period’s events are more important  reason for the Reminiscence bump: a lot of rehearsal and elaboration --> for different reasons 1. Cognitive hypothesis: memories in early adulthood occur in periods of rapid change followed by stability  Elaborate and distinct cues likely to be remembered the best  during Reminiscence bump --> a lot of rapid change --> a lot of interesting development --> a lot of elaboration and rehearsal --> think about how does that affect me a lot --> lots of distinct event that will not happen again or haven’t happened before --> a lot of strange and new events --> exciting and new better as by-product along with their personal exciting memoriest remembered  followed by period of stability --> no more distinct or exciting memory to replace or elaborate --> tend to rehearse and elaborate on the old memory  if emigrated later in life, then the Reminiscence bump seems to have a shift --> a lot of changes in life 2. Self-image hypothesis: formation of personal identity strengthens memories for that time period  Self-reference effect  not just elaboration --> but elaboration of stuff that makes up who we are  we are forming our self-identity during that period of time  when we are able to relate things to ourselves, we are able to remember things better --> everything linking to self-image is really well-remembered 3. Maturational account: Cognitive processes are at their maximum during period of reminiscence bump  Potentially helps to attract a mate  everything is at peak --> teens and twenties best memory, attention and reasoning ability --> memory is best for that period --> goal is to attract a mate --> want to have everything at its peak --> evolutionary push for good memory --> as a by product, we have the Reminiscence Bump 4. Cultural life script hypothesis: Memory is improved for positive culturally shared experiences  Results in increased elaborative rehearsal  similar to self image hypothesis --> which is personal  there are things the culture expect you to do --> due to the expectation, things happen in this period get rehearsed --> family and friends talk about it a lot --> discuss what should be happening --> meet goals --> expected to make life- living decision and get married and find job and buy a house --> people talk about milestones --> experience that makes us rehearse the events --> strong memory Flashbulb Memories  memory for surprising, highly emotional and influential events  type of episodic memory  we are acting as witness  Events that we can remember as though we’re there --> we are witnessing (learning about it) --> not in that event or involved (or else autobiographical memory) --> perfect --> as if we took a picture --> no matter how far we are from that event, we can still remember the event very well --> where you were and what you were doing when you first heard about the event --> vivid strong memory for learning about the event --> what you were doing when you heard about it --> memory is mainly about the event  Tend to be emotional and surprising  Talarico & Rubin studied flashbulb memories for September 11 --> North Carolina --> people didn’t experience it --> not involved --> asked them what they were doing when heard about the event --> also something else that they did on that day (everyday event)  Neisser, studied California earthquake  tested people from california and georgia  Georgia: memory decayed --> fade over time but they had vivid memory and believed that their memory is accurate  California: more accurate flashbulb memory compared to everyday memory  narrative rehearsal hypothesis: if you are close to the event --> going to hear about the event often and talk about it a lot --> elaborate over and over again --> making the memory strong --> a result of more frequent and and over again --> rehearse a lot --> or else, if you are not close to the event or involved , don’t rehearse as much and memory can go wrong --> also more cues such as passing by the same location everyday Talarico & Rubin (2003)  Compared memory for 9/11 attacks vs. everyday events  Sept. 12, 2001 --> 7 days --> 42 days --> 224 days  all the memories (accuracy) decreased and mistakes increased overtime --> but no difference between everyday and flashbulb memory --> about the same  differed in how accurate people believed their memory are --> on scale of vividness --> thought their flashbulb memory is very accurate while their accuracy for everyday event decreased  when memory is emotional --> it feels like it is accurate  so actual memory decays and the vivid memory is not necessarily accurate  so flashbulb memory is not that different --> they decay over time --> except for how accurate we believe it is --> the memories are vivid but not vividly accurate  strong belief that our memory is very accurate --> due to strong emotional  but what about people involved in that event? --> Neisser’s experiment “Remembering”  Retrieval is constructive  memory is not exactly intact  We use of general knowledge and expectations based on past experiences to organize memories  reconsolidation: every time we pull out memory, it is fragile and can change --> we add in bits and pieces every time --> part is true --> but past and current events and experience can construct the memory --> piece together whatever comes to mind to create the memory  remember in different ways each time  Using repeated reproduction technique, Bartlett (1932) was among the first to report the constructive nature of memory  give a piece of stimulus and take away and asked people reproduce several times --> what does the reproduction look like over time?  if memory is intact --> drawings should be same  drawings change each time  but at some point --> image change completely --> reconstructed memory --> access last time’s memory --> constructive nature of memory --> using past knowledge and last time’s memory  so over time, people’s memory change  problem = no control: but don’t know how much time passed between each drawing --> same time period or different?   story: 1932 in England One night two young men from Egulac went down to the river to hunt seals, and while they were there it became foggy and calm. Then they heard war-cries, and they thought: "Maybe this is a war-party". They escaped to the shore, and hid behind a log. Now canoes came up, and they heard the noise of paddles, and saw one canoe coming up to them. There were five men in the canoe, and they said: "What do you think? We wish to take you along. We are going up the river to make war on the people". One of the young men said: "I have no arrows". "Arrows are in the canoe", they said. "I will not go along. I might be killed. My relatives do not know where I have gone. But you", he said, turning to the other, "may go with them." So one of the young men went, but the other returned home. And the warriors went on up the river to a town on the other side of Kalama. The people came down to the water, and they began to fight, and many were killed. But presently the young man heard one of the warriors say: "Quick, let us go home: that Indian has been hit". Now he thought: "Oh, they are ghosts". He did not feel sick, but they said he had been shot. So the canoes went back to Egulac, and the young man went ashore to his house, and made a fire. And he told everybody and said: " Behold I accompanied the ghosts, and we went to fight. Many of our fellows were killed, and many of those who attacked us were killed. They said I was hit, and I did not feel sick". He told it all, and then he became quiet. When the sun rose he fell down. Something black came out of his mouth. His face became contorted. The people jumped up and cried. He was dead.  this story is strange in 1932 England --> different structure and type of story Some warriors went to wage war against the ghosts. They fought all day and one of their number was wounded. They returned home in the evening, bearing their sick comrade. As the day drew to a close, he became rapidly worse and the villagers came round him. At sunset he sighed: something black came out of his mouth. He was dead.  reproduction --> much shorter and less detail --> memory faded and structure changed to suit the standard Western story-grammar --> what we would expect from a story --> a lot of information is wrong to fit what they knew about war --> not accurate representation of story but representation of how people understand the story --> fitted into their schema --> constructed and shifted around to fit what people understand and expect --> accurate representation of what people expect a story to be like and events in real life Schemas and Scripts  We can use schemas and scripts to organize our memories based on knowledge and expectations  Schemas are heuristics that tell us what we should expect  knowledge based --> rules of thumb --> what to expect based on what happened before --> knowledge that comes along and what happens --> know what to expect and how to behave  schema for university, people and dentist  expectation based on past experience and knowledge  script: schema for event --> what to expect and do about an event --> what do you do --> schema for actions --> e.g. going to a restaurant  use schema and script all the time when retrieving and encoding memory  They help us organize our memories  focus our limited resources  reduce memory load Using schemas to organize memory  to elaborate  Bransford and Johnson (1972) provided strong evidence that schemas help organize information and improve recall  Readers can link details to well-established knowledge in LTM  show the picture first --> provides schema --> past knowledge --> hook info from passage onto the picture --> meaningful way to organize memory  need schema first which helps to organize memory --> hook information and organize  schema provides meaning to organize memory  If the balloons popped, the sound wouldn't be able to carry since everything would be too far away from the correct floor. A closed window would also prevent the sound from carrying, since most buildings tend to be well insulated. Since the whole operation depends on a steady flow of electricity, a break in the middle of the wire would also cause problems. Of course, the fellow could shout, but the human voice is not loud enough to carry that far. An additional problem is that a string could break on the instrument. Then there could be no accompaniment to the message. It is clear that the best situation would involve less distance. Then there would be fewer potential problems. With face to face contact, the least number of things could go wrong. (p. 719)  memory is quite poor  need to be given the schema --> picture  The procedure is actually quite simple. First you arrange things into different groups. Of course, one pile may be sufficient depending on how much there is to do. If you have to go somewhere else due to lack of facilities that is the next step, otherwise you are pretty well set. It is important not to overdo things. That is, it is better to do too few things at once than too many. In the short run this may not seem important but complications can easily arise. A mistake can be expensive as well. At first the whole procedure will seem complicated. Soon, however, it will become just another facet of life. It is future, but then one never can tell, After the procedure is completed oneate arranges the materials into different groups again. Then they can be put into their appropriate places. Eventually they will be used once more and the whole cycle will then have to be repeated. However, that is part of life. (p. 722)  don’t need to be given the schema --> just need to be reminded for the schema --> schema is in memory already --> just need to know which schema to access and to use for organization
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