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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

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PSYC 213
Jelena Ristic

CHAPTER 5: MEMORY TRACES AND MEMORY SCHEMAS SCHEMA THEORIES OF MEMORY - One way to have effect on memory is to leave a trace (Chapter 3) - Memories often replicas of past experiences - PAUL typical conception of memory trace sees memory as being similar to a recording device o Memory = machine for coping and storing copies of events o Not only makes copies preserves it o Tape could be played back can be experienced similar to the actual original experience o Could be played back unlimited amounts of time o Each replay would be the same as previous replay o With time may be decay in quality of recording due to age and wear and tear could still recover alot of info - PAUL & ERDELYI drawn attention to Freuds theory: o MYSTIC WRITING PAD: model of memory based on childrens toy writing tablet that allows new messages to be written on one level while pieces of old messages accumulate on another level Toy pad layer of black wax lies under sheet of waxed paper under a sheet of clear plastic When writing on plastic can see what you wrote where plastic sticks to black wax When lifting paper and plastic what you wrote disappears still lines on black wax o Overlay = perception of event = transitory o Memories similar to what remains on wax tablet after we lift plastic Memories are after-effects of perception Tend to run into one another - Imperfect analogy unlikely memory has the truly haphazard structure of a wax tablet - Analogy helps clear distinction between memory traces and memory schemas - Pure concept of memory traces laid dow in memory as distinct, permanent copies of presvious experiences - REAPPEARANCE HYPOTHESIS: Neisser hypothesis that memory is a re-experiencing of the past o Implies that same memory can disappear/reappear over and over - If memory is schematic does not use stored copies of finished mental events relies on fragments used to support a new construction - Another Neisser analogy when we remember something, we are like palaeontologists trying to reconstruct a dinosaur reconstruct from few bone fragments o Many possible outcomes end up with a lot of guessing FLASHBULB MEMORIES - Recollections of particularly important events more clear and distinct o BROWN & KULIK had vivid, detailed memories of the day Kennedy was assassinated Place they heard when found out What they were doing when interrupted with news Person who told them Affect how they felt at that time Aftermath what they didnt right after hearing the news - FLASHBULB MEMORIES: vivid, details memories of significant events - NOW PRINT THEORY: theory that a specific process, similar to xerography, lays down in memories copies of especially significant events o Livingstong o (1) Event tested for surprinsingness Brown & Kulic added event could be sufficiently traumatic for us to not process at all leads to total amnesia for event o (2) Test event for consequentiality o (3) Formation of flash bulb memory o (4) Rehearsal We think about flashbulb memories more than other memories Also more likely to create verbal accounts of them o (5) Flashbulb account of our memories we tell to other people rd - Focus of Now Print theory 3 stage can preserve flashbulb memory perhaps there is mechanism for laying down in memory a record of experiences, including context it occurred in - Now print theory- primitive form of memory o Becomes less useful as other kinds of record evolve o People can keep track of events by meant of external memory aids books,etc. IS THERE A FLASHBULB MEMORY MECHANISM? - MCCLOSKEY asked people about immediate effects of an effective event asked same questions 9 months later o Later questionnaire more general less specific o Some people had even more specific answers for the later questionnaire o None were inconsistent with the immediate one o For flashbulb memories inaccuracies may be introduced when the info that cannot be retrieved from memory is filled in through inference or guesswork o Concluded: flashbulb not more accurate than normal memories Special flashbulb mechanism need not be postulated in order to account for them They are just consequences of the same factors that influence normal memories - Weaver investigated similarities and differences between flashbulb & ordinary memories o Confidence we have in flashbulb memories comes from realization that we have witnessed historically important event we weant to preserve it in our memory as a sense of having been part of ito Actual memory of historically important events may be only as accurate as our memory for others - TALARICO AND RUBIN even though flashbulb memories had more emotion associated with them, in terms of actually content they are no more accurate than ordinary memories o Participants thought flashbulb memories were more accurate than ordinary memeories ARE MEMORY TRACES PERMANENT? - Classic approach to memory tracers CONSOLIDATION THEORY: theory that memory traces of an event are not fully formed immediately after that event but to take some time to become complete - Can be disrupted by events that occur after the to-be remembered event - RETROACTIVE INTERFERENCE: decline in the recall of one thing experiences as a result of later experiencing something else - HIPPOCAMPUS: site in the brain crucial for the consolidation of memory traces - Converts immediate memories into long term ones - Greek for sea horse what it looks like - If hippocampus damaged before consolidation process finished, new memories still undergoing process will be impaired - Retroactive most likely occurs because ordinary mental exertion and memory formations retract from an ongoing process of hippocampal consolidation - Recall of previous experiences places it in working memory comes into contact with other experiences o Provides opportunity for memory trace to be revised
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