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CHP 5. memory traces and memory schemas

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McGill University
PSYC 213
Jelena Ristic

CHP 5 MEMORY TRACES AND MEMORY SCHEMAS SCHEMA THEORIES OF MEMORYmystic writing padFreudmodel of memory based on a childrens toy writing tablet that allows new messages to be written on one level while fragments of old messages accumulate on another levelthe toy has three layers black wax paper plastic drawn to attention by PaulErdelyiperceptions are transitoryo perceptionwhat appears on the tablets overlaymemories are aftereffects of perceptiono memorythe remaining indent on the black wax after the overlay is removedif memory followed the mystic writing pad modelrecollection would be reconstruction of the past extremely prone to errorimperfect model but it helps clairfy the difference between memory traces and memory schemasmemory tracesmemory as distinct permanent copies of previous experiencesif memory is entirely based on memory tracesremembering would be reexpriencing the past coined the reappearance hypothesis by Neissermemory schemasmemory relies on fragments which are used to support a new constructionex paleontologist trying to reconstruct a dinosaur from a few remaining bone fragmentsFLASHBULB MEMORIESflashbulb memoriesvivid detailed memories of significant events ex BrownKulik 1977 study on flashbulb memories o asked participants to recall the circumstances during a significant event President Kennedys deathaprox 10 years previous o resultsalmost all participants gave detailed memoriesreports typically contained information on a place where they learnt about the event b what they were doing at the time of hearing the news c the informant d affect how they felt at the time e aftermath what they did immediately after receiving the newsstimulus event occurs a test for critical degree of surprise o too surprisingretrograde amnesia o right amount of surprisingflash bulb memory o no surprise factor inattention btest for degree of consequentiality c flashbulb memory varying in elaboration d rehearsals overtcovert varying in frequency e flashbulb accounts varying in elaboration for diagram see figure 52 p 124now print theorya specific process similar to a xerograph lays down in memory copies of especially significant experiencesfocuses on the production of memoryBrownKulik suggested that with the evolution of external memory aids ex books this type of memory became less usefulIS THERE A FLASHBULB MEMORY MECHANISMBrownKuliks experiment was repeated for the Challenger space shuttle explosion Bohannon et aldata was collected 3 days after the crash and again 9 months afteras memory evolves it becomes less concretespecific and more abstractgeneral o evolution of memorytowards memory schemas away from memory tracesinconsistencies given 9 months were small reconstructive errors similar to other memoriesWeaverNeisserflashbulb events are recalled with greater confidence but not greater accuracycompared to other memories
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