Psychology 2135A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Chinese Whispers, Retrograde Amnesia, Cotton Swab

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Chapter 5 – Memory Traces and Memory Schemas
Schema-Based Theories of Memory
owhat we expect to nd as we explore the world”
osomething that helps us to organize the information we receive
oMystic Writing Pad Model
Basically, a toy that consists of a sheet of waxed paper
between a layer of black wax and a sheet of clear plastic
When you write on it with a stylus, the wax paper sticks to
the wax
When you lift the waxed paper and plastic, the writing
disappears from the overlay but the imprint of what you
wrote remains on the wax
The Overlay: our perception of an event
Perceptions are transitory; we pass from one
experience to the next
Memories are what remains on the wax tablet after we lift
the plastic - after e'ects of perception
Over time they tend to run together (memories) – if you
examine the black wax layer after using the pad for a while
you will see multiple lines overlapping
oReappearance Hypothesis:
The same memory can reappear unchanged, again and
again
The Trace Theory
FlashBulb Memories - Brown and Kulik
o9/11 – vivid memory of signicant events
o5 stages of Flashbulb
1. Surprisingness – if it is ordinary we wont pay attention, and
if it is traumatic we will respond with retrograde amnesia
If its extraordinary (9/11, assassination) then we will pay
very close attention to it
2. The event is tested for consequentiality
Events that fail this will be forgotten
Those we consider important as we ll as surprising will
move onto the third stage
3. Flashbulb memories are formed
They will vary in vividness and completeness
depending on how surprising and consequential they
are
4. Rehearsal Stage
We think about those memories and develop verbal
accounts
5. We tell and retell those accounts to others
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oNowPrint! Theory (livingstin)
Especially signicant experiences are immediately
“photocopied” and preserved in long-term memory
Focuses on the third stage where the surprising and
consequential experience is preserved in long term
memory
FBM would be highly detailed memory traces
Investigating the Flashbulb Hypothesis
oNone of the nine months were wildly inconsistent but some did
change vaguely
oNo more accurate than normal memories – its only because we
have replayed them so much and thought about it so often
oFor 9/11 experiment, see that everyday memories and <ashbulb
became more inconsistent over time, though the people believed
that their falshbulbs were more accurate
Are Memory Traces Permanent
oConsolidation Theory
Memory traces of an event are not fully formed
immediately after that event, but take some time to
consolidate (establish)
This process can be interrupted by events that occur after
the event to be remembered – this Is called Retroactive
Interference
oHippocampus
Is a crucial site for the consolidation of memory traces
converting immediate memories into long term memories
Likely that RI occurs because the ordinary mental exertion
and memory formation detract from an ongoing process of
hippocampal consolidation
Idea that the memory can change – why <ashbulb
memories can be remembered di'erently
Revised trace would undergo reconsolidation in the
hippocampus
oNader
Memories are constructive in nature and always changing
Bartlett and The Concept of the Schema
oMethod of repeated reproduction
A person is given multiple opportunities to recall a story
over time
oMethod of Serial Reproduction
A person, A, writes down what he or she can recall of a
previously read story
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