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Chapter 7

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 7: Remembering Complex Events (p.198-233) Memory Errors: A Hypothesis - Can happen in many ways, starting with errors in the initial exposure and continuing with recall - Sometimes the connections we have between memories tie together to make mistakes that seem real - We use these connections in retrieval to find the information we are looking for – can cause problems when we have too many and they tie together o Transplant errors: when information from one context is implanted in another memory Intrusion errors: errors in which other knowledge intrudes into the remembered event - Experiment (in lecture notes): Participants were asked to read a passage, and half also read a prologue before reading the same passage. o After when asked to recall, those who had the prologue remembered more than those who did not have the prologue o However, those with the prologue also had more inferred propositions (remembering things that were not in the story) than those without o Shows how the same function can be good and bad Deese- Roediger- McDermott Procedure: same connections that are helpful can also hurt with word lists and recall. If someone saw “bed, rest, sleep, dream, blanket” they may recall the word sleep since it relates, but it was never in the list - Participants become very confident with these answers, just as confident as with words that were actually there - Errors happen even when participants are warned ahead of time – automatic responses that create the errors Schematic Knowledge: background information we bring about something – usually helpful - Generic knowledge: knowledge about how things unfold in general and what is typical in a particular setting - also known as SCHEMA’S (summarize these broad patterns) - These help us to organize the world based on previous knowledge and what is expected - Can be harmful – may remember going to a restaurant and say you received a menu ( because in most places you would) even if you did not – rely on these schemas to recall memories - This means these errors are very predictable – based on what is „normal‟ - This is seen through the study in which participants waited in an office for 35 seconds, then asked to recall what was in there – some guessed books since it was an office, but none were there - Example of car crash that participants witnessed. Some participants were asked, “How fast were the cars going when they hit each other?” and others were asked “How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?” – created bias to estimates of speed based on the words o Hit estimated 34 miles, smashed estimated 41, but both saw the exact same thing Misinformation effect: explains the above terms, since their memory was influenced after the episode was over - can change details and even add new details - Some memories can be implanted if they are asked enough and people try to remember them - Experiment where participants were asked to remember events provided by their parents (some real and some fake). By the third interview, 25% of the participants said they remembered the fake events, adding in their own personal details - Recalls can be confident and detailed, often including personal information to make them seem more real – it is easier to plant plausible memories – such as changing a few things, or a similar memory o Also easier to plant a memory if it is repeated o Once the false information is in, that is how a participant will recall the info. Avoiding Memory Errors - In most cases, we can trust our memories – not all are errors - Crime scene example: details can be extremely accurate when details are similar to the witness (age, gender, height, weight ect.) Retention Interval: the amount of time that elapsed between initial learning and subsequent retrieval – the longer the time, the more you forget, so you rely on filling the gaps to help make sense of it again Source Monitoring: remembering the source of the various ideas that were associated with an event Three reasons why memories weaken with time; 1. Decay: with longer time memories may fade or erode- cells die off or connection
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