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Chapter 7 - Reliability of Memory

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Sarah Mackenzie

on 8 June 2018

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Transcript of Chapter 7 - Reliability of Memory

Chapter 7 - Reliability of Memory
> methods to retrieve information from memory or demonstrate the existence of information in memory, including recall, recognition, relearning and reconstruction
Study Design
Methods to retrieve information from memory or demonstrate the existence of information in memory
Reconstruction of memories provides evidence for the fallibility of memory. This has been demonstrated by numerous research studies conducted by American psychologist
Elizabeth Loftus
and various colleagues on eye-witness testimony.
Fallibility of Memory Reconstruction
Let's use our textbooks...
Research by Loftus
Handout - Index
Eye-witness testimony
is any firsthand account given by an individual of an event they have seen.
Loftus has found that eye-witness testimony is not always accurate because eye-witnesses reconstruct their memories and their reconstructed memories can be manipulated by leading questions that contain misleading information.
Loftus’s research makes it clear that
leading questions
can be used to manipulate memory reconstruction and therefore information that is reported by eye-witnesses. A leading question has content or is phrased in such a way as to suggest what answer is desired or to lead to the desired answer.
Elizabeth Loftus- Falibility of Memory Construction
Chp 7 -
Reliability of Memory

> the reconstruction of memories as evidence for the fallibility of memory, with reference to Loftus’s research into the effect of leading questions on eye-witness testimonies
> the factors influencing a person’s ability and inability to remember information, including context and state dependent cues, maintenance and elaborative rehearsal and serial position effect
> the effects of brain trauma on areas of the brain associated with memory and neurodegenerative diseases, including brain surgery, anterograde amnesia and Alzheimer’s disease

Recall involves reproducing information stored in memory.
You bring the information into conscious awareness and doing so provides evidence that something previously learned was retained.
Recognition involves identifying (‘recognising’) the original, learnt information.
The presence of the correct information acts as a cue for its retrieval from memory.
Relearning involves learning information again that has been previously learned (and was therefore stored in LTM).
If information is learned more quickly the second time, it is assumed that some information must have been retained (or ‘saved’) from the first learning experience, whether the individual realises it or not.
Imagine yourself going to a fancy restaurant for dinner. You are seated at a table with a nice white table cloth. You study the menu. You tell the waiter you want the chargrilled barramundi, with deep-fried potato chunks and the salad with mayo dressing. You also order a lemonade from the drinks list. A few minutes later, the waiter arrives with your salad and drink. Later, the rest of your meal arrives. You enjoy it all, except the potatoes were a bit underdone.
Some websites to try
- try out your brain age! Mine was like 78 when I first did it...... I go better

On a scrap piece of paper, without talking to anyone else, I want you to write down the names of the 7 dwarfs.
Free Recall
Cued recall
Serial Recall
‘Which of the following are names of Walt Disney’s seven dwarfs?’
> Bashful > Doc
> Pop > Grumpy
> Sneezy > Dopey
> Happy > Grouchy
> Sleepy

Relearning is also called the
method of savings
You were probably able to recall everything you ordered, and maybe even the colour of the table cloth. But did the waiter give you a menu? Not in the paragraph above, but many people answer ‘yes’ because that is a logical inference based on what they already know about restaurants through prior experience. What we retrieve is not always a perfect reproduction of what happened at the time of encoding. We reconstruct our memories during retrieval. During reconstruction, if the memory has gaps or is not clear, we tend to add information that helps ensure the retrieved memory is complete and ‘makes sense’. When doing so, we may draw on past and current knowledge to infer the way things ‘must have been’
If asked about your dining experience, you can probably retrieve a considerable amount of detail. For example, without looking back, answer the following questions:
What kind of salad dressing did you order?
Was the table cloth red-checked?
What did you order to drink?
Did the waiter give you a menu?
Memory reconstruction
generally involves combining stored information with other available information to form what is believed to be a more coherent, complete or accurate memory.
Reconstructive memory
, as it is commonly called, is most evident when we retrieve an episodic memory of a specific event for which we can’t recall or are uncertain about some of the details.
1. Explain how and why memory construction is believed to occur.

2. If human memory is vulnerable to manipulation during reconstruction, what implication does this have for people recalling details of a crime scene?
For each of the following examples, identify one or more retrieval methods that is most likely being used: free recall (FR), serial recall (SR), cued recall (CR), recognition (RG) or relearning (RL).
> remembering a friend’s mobile phone number with no cues
> playing hangman
> using photos from a trip to describe your experiences
> identifying a friend who appears in a news report
> remembering the directions to a friend’s house
> writing out the words of a song from memory
> reading back over your course notes before an exam
> writing out the words of a song with the music of the
song playing in the background.
I will collect these at the end of the week to review
Effects of Brain Trauma on Memory
Brain Trauma Vs Neurodegenerative Diseases
The term
brain trauma
is an ‘umbrella’ term that refers to any brain damage that impairs, or interferes with, the normal functioning of
the brain, either temporarily or permanently.
Both brain trauma and neurodegenerative diseases can cause amnesia.

Amnesia is used to refer to loss of memory that is inconsistent with ordinary forgetting.
Anterograde Amnesia

If brain trauma causes loss of memory only for information or events experienced
the trauma occurs, it is called anterograde amnesia.

People with Anterograde amnesia lose the ability to from or store new long term memories.

What key brain structure is likely to be damaged to lead to this?????
Brain Surgery
The story of H.M
neurodegenerative disease
is a disorder characterised by the progressive decline in the structure, activity and function of brain tissue. Essentially, neurons within the brain tissue (‘neuro’) gradually become damaged or deteriorate (‘degenerate’) and lose their function.
What's the difference?
Two types;
> Retrograde Amnesia
> Anterograde Amnesia
Anterograde amnesia is one of the symptoms experienced by people with Alzheimer’s disease
Korsakoff’s syndrome
. Korsakoff’s syndrome
is a neurodegenerative disease involving severe memory disorders associated with brain damage, particularly deep within the middle of the brain where the thalamus is located. Korsakoff’s syndrome occurs mainly in people who are chronic (long-term) alcoholics and is linked to the prolonged loss of thiamine (vitamin B) from their diets.
Watch Memento

Damage to the hippocampus = affects the formation and consolidation of explicit memory - semantic and episodic.
Damage = given the crucial role of the amygdala in the formation of emotional memories, problems are usually experienced with aspects of these types of memories.

E.g. They may remember the semantic and episodic details of a traumatic or joyful event stored in LTM, but not the emotional qualities of that event.

Acquisition of conditional fear responses appears to critically involve the amygdala.
Cerebral Cortex
The surgical removal of one or more cortical areas can result in serious memory impairments.

Frontal Lobe
- damage here indicates these are primarily involved in memory processes rather than storage. Frontal lobe loss tends also to disrupt the retrieval process

Pre-frontal Cortex
- Damage tends to impair the individual in remembering the sequence of events. It seems to interfere with the efficiency of other memory processes, such as attention that is required for transfer of info from sensory memory to STM.

Left Hem
- damage here is often associated with worse recall of verbal material than non verbal material

Classically conditioned motor responses involving simple reflexes such as an eye blink, leg movement or head turn in response to a conditioned stimulus are stored in specific locations within the cerebellum.

Without a cerebellum = these individuals cannot acquire a classically conditioned reflex response, but do remember the experiences of hearing sounds and feeling puffs of air to the eye.

Brain regions
Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's Disease is a type of dementia characterised by the gradual widespread degeneration of brain neurons, progressively causing memory decline, deterioration of cognitive and social skills, and personality changes.
Brain Damage associated with Alzheimer's disease
> Brain looks shriveled and shrunken due to widespread death of neurons
> Medial temporal lobe significantly affected (hippocampus)
> Plaques
> Neurofibrillary Tangles
> Lack of the neurotransmitter ACh
1. Explain why Alzheimer's disease is irreversible

2. What are plaques and tangles?

3. Which memory systems are affected?
Alzheimer's Disease
Factors influencing ability and inability to remember

Forgetting - refers to the inability to access or recover information previously stored in memory.

Different Types of Retrieval Cues
Context and State dependent Cues
What is retrieval failure theory?

Explain the difference between context dependent and state dependent retrieval cues with reference to relevant examples.

Explain how context and state dependent cues can improve or enhance retrieval of explicit and implicit memories. For each type of cue, give two relevant examples linked to memory improvement.
Maintenance and Elaborative Rehearsal
Maintenance rehearsal involves repeating the information being remembered over and over again so that it can be retained (or ‘maintained’) in STM.

Although maintenance rehearsal can be very effective for retaining information in STM, it does not
always lead to long-term retention.
Serial Position Effect
The serial position effect is a finding that free recall is better for items at the end and beginning of the list than for items in the middle of the list. More specifically, the recall of items tends to be best for items at the end, and then the beginning, and worst for items around the middle.
Serial Position Effect
Why does the serial position effect occur in terms of LTM and STM duration?

Parietal Lobe
- damage here affects attention. So it may impair STM, bit not necessarily our ability to maintain information in STM. Seems to impair spatial memory and awareness.
A retrieval cue is any stimulus that assists the process of locating and recovering information stored in memory.
Context Dependent Cues
Context dependent cues are environmental cues
in the specific situation (‘context’) where a memory was formed that act as retrieval cues to help access the memories formed in that context. These cues may include the sights, sounds and smells within the specific situation.
State Dependent Cues
State dependent cues are associated with an individual’s internal physiological and/or psychological state at the time
the memory was formed, and act as retrieval cues to help access those memories.
Retrieval failure involving context- or state-dependent cues is a widely described and comprehensive theory
of forgetting based on substantial research evidence,
but it does not account for all forgetting and therefore has limitations.
elaborative rehearsal is the process of linking new information in a meaningful way with other new information
or information already stored in LTM to aid in its storage and future retrieval from LTM.
primacy effect
describes superior recall of items at the beginning of a list.
recency effect
describes superior recall of items at the end of a list.

Together with the relatively low recall of items from the middle of the list, this pattern makes up the serial position effect.


Some cool clips to watch in your own time
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