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Chapter 7

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Episodic Memory, Childhood Amnesia, Memory Consolidation

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Michael Inzlicht

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Module 7.3 Constructing & Reconstructing Memory
How Memories Are Organized and Constructed
The Schema: An Active Organization Process
Schemas ogaizes lustes of eoies that ake up oe’s koledge aout eets,
objects, and ideas
They can be used to explain memory, as well as the way we perceive, remember, &
think about people & situations
Schema = ready-made structures allow us to process new info more quickly (mental
Culture + experience schema
Ex. Gender schemas (the notion of women as stay-at-home-mothers doing chores)
o Schema-consistent
o Can interfere with remembering something well
o Shows that our schemas are not always accurate
How Schemas Influence Memory
Schemas are involved in all three stages of memory
Constructive memory - the act of remembering something through recalling a
framework (schema) and then adding specific details
o “oeties adds details to the eoy of a eet that did’t eally ou
Schemas affect memory in two ways:
o Organization encountering new information/situation event = schema-
consistent easier to recall the event (the exact details may be difficult to
o Distinctiveness eouteig e ifoatio & soe o all of the ifo o’t
fit our schemas
If the new information = unusual, then recalling it = easy
If the new information = not that unusual, recalling it = difficult (likely to
be forgotten)
If the new information = not interesting, then recalling it = difficult (likely
to be forgotten)
Muscular man with tattoos driving a minivan
Brain-imaging studies that:
o Schemas exist
o Schemas help with memory consolidation
o Encoding & retrieving information consistent with a schema greater activity in
the medial temporal lobe (including the hippocampus) and parts of the frontal
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o Adding new info an existing schemas change in the expression of genes in the
frontal lobes
Rewriting parts of our brain when adding to a schema
Earliest Memories
Infantile amnesia inability of adults to retrieve episodic memories before the age of 3-4
Scientific evidence says that:
The nervous system is still developing at birth
o Its immaturity limits the degree to which a young person can think, reflect on, &
remember personal experiences
Young children need to develop schemas to help organize and store memories
Different cultures tend to develop earliest memories at different ages
Cross-cultural cognitive research:
Self-schemas development: 18-24 months
Apparently, there's a variance between the age of self-schema development in different
o European American - earlier development of sense of self than Asians.
o Difference in the early development of sense of self can be explained by cultural
o Different cultures have different social emphasis on their children
Asians emphasize social harmony over individualism; resulting in development of
schema that is more socially integrated than in Westerners.
o This results in late beginning of autobiographic memory in Asian children
Memory Reconstruction
You are what you remember
Our memories of our past are influenced by our motivation to view ourselves in specific
o Biased memory
Our memories = unstable
o Dynamic = change over time
False memory remembering events that did not occur, or incorrectly recalling details of an
Note: false memory memory dysfunction
Memory processes imperfect
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