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True and false memories in the brain

By Sarah, Monica and Erik
by

Erik Soderstrom

on 27 September 2013

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Transcript of True and false memories in the brain

Confabulation & Interference
Elizabeth Loftus
Sensory Reactivation Hypothesis
"In a way then, reliving past experience in our memory is the resurrection of neuronal activity from the past". -Dr. Itzhak Fried
Jean Piaget
False Memory
of hotair balloon
ride
True and False Memories in the Brain
By Monica, Sarah & Erik
Dr. Donald Thompson accused of rape
"Memory itself is an internal rumour." -George Santayana
Kidnapped?
Picture/Sound Study
7 Sins of Memory
Doctored Pictures
As Loftus shows, innocent persons are regularly convicted of crimes they did not commit on the basis of faulty eyewitness testimony. In these cases, the eyewitnesses do not commit perjury. They do not willfully lie, but rather they tell the truth as they have come to believe it.
Throughout the studies conducted, the most important finding was that true memories hold stronger sensory and perceptual details than false memories.

This is because of that "neuronal resurrection of activity from the past." If the memory never took place, it was never properly hardwired into the brain to be resurrected.

However, that isn't to say that false memories feel less accurate. The more people imagine an event, the more likely they are to subsequently believe it really happened. Remember, your brain is creative!
Presenting on live TV
“The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.” -Salvador Dali
Confabulation is:
a falsely remembered memory.

a plausible, but imagined memory that fills in the gap from what is actually remembered.

a problem of source memory.

most responsive during memory tests.
A Characteristic of confabulation: people are genuinely confident in their false memory, despite proven evidence that is untrue.

Verbal confabulations are spoken false memories. While behavioral confabulations are individual acts on their false memories.

How confabulation is measured: Free Recall Tasks (1 way)--Participants are asked to recall a familiar story. The story is then encoded for errors. Errors include falsifying the story elements or including details from a different story.
Interference



-Interference Theory=old memories are lost over time.

-Proactive Interference-the forgetting of information due to interference from the traces of events or learning that occurred prior to the materials to be remembered.

-Difficulty in remembering new knowledge means competition between the earlier knowledge and the new one.

- People who knowingly lie about a situation may eventually believe that their lies are truthful over time.

-Repressed memory or motivated forgetting is a memory, usually of a traumatic nature, that has become unavailable for recall.

-Traumatic/painful events are blocked from memory.
-Source memory refers to a form of memory that allows one to recollect the episode in which learning took place, or the time and place in which a particular stimulus was encountered.


-Affirmative feedback causes one to become confident in their confabulated story.

The Fallible Memory
(Wheeler, Petersen and Buckner): Memory's Echo
Participants would be asked to study a set of sounds and look at a set of pictures. They were later asked to recall the studied stimuli, and their brain activities were monitored. Participants’ brains activated more for the studied pictures and sounds than for the non-studied.

Only the highest-level areas that involve perception were reactivated, such as early visual processing regions, prefrontal regions, parietal regions, motor processing regions, and the parahippocampal gyrus.

Put simply, the brain acts somewhat as an archive. When vivid memories are chiseled (encoded) into the brain, the same regions are activated during retrieval.
Doctored photos have been altered and manipulated to change their meanings.
Manipulated photos can create false memories, as they “remind” people of things that never happened. This can be a form of retrograde interference and confabulation—you’re adding new, incoming information to fill in the gaps of a memory, and eventually believe it to be true.

These findings have important implications—they show what power the mass media has over how we perceive and remember events. This misinformation could be used as a form of propaganda to manipulate public opinion. Since this type of photo software is easily accessible, there is a large potential for normal people to create misinformation.
Out of the 7 Sins of Memory, three of them deal with memory distortions

Misattribution: As a form of source error, it involves remembering an event and incorrectly recalling the original source of information. As was the case with Dr. Donald Thompson, the woman misattributed him as her rapist.

Suggestibility: When memories are altered by a subtle emphasis on certain aspects of a memory. After hearing about Arab bombers on the news, you may place emphasis on your Arab neighbor after a dog blew up on your block.

Bias: A form of suggestibility, but instead you’re projecting your worldview that may distort the original remembrance of an event. This happens because you’re more likely to remember an event if you’re in a similar mood as when it was originally encoded.
Transience: The normal distortion of episodic memory whenever it is retrieved. This happens because each time you retrieve an episodic memory, it is re-encoded within the hippocampus.

Absent-Mindedness: A lack of attention during a period of encoding information. Whenever you misplace something, you weren’t paying enough attention to detail for it to be encoded.

Blocking: When another memory interferes with retrieval. Ex: Tip of the Tongue Phenomena

Persistence: Unwanted recall of information that is disturbing. The remembrance of traumatic events could lead to phobia or PTSD.
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