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Transcript of Memory
we interpret our own past in a way that is consistent with how we are now.
edit out memories of past actions that we would now consider hurtful
we assess how likely it is for something to happen based on how easily examples can be retrieved from memory.
memories instantly available appear more important/representative, but they are probably just things we have seen or experienced recently. This negatively influences our ability to accurately predict the future.
a tendency to alter memory so that we notice what we would have expected to notice.
Memory is suggestible
Studies conducted by Elizabeth Loftus
Stores skills, information and experiences
Allows us to predict possible futures by looking back on past experiences
We use memory to make decisions and assess our options based on previous information
Allows us to understand other people, have relationships, and gain a sense of continuity in our lives.
Allows us to learn from our mistakes.
Memory can be influenced greatly by:
What we expect
What we were told by others
We have spectacular amount of space for memories, but to prevent clutter, we often forget memories that aren't useful
However, if they aren't deleted, this could be a huge problem
Definition of Memory:
The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information.
ex. "I've a great memory for faces"
"He searched his memory frantically for an answer"
Synonyms: ability to remember, powers of recall
"She is losing her memory"
Something remembered from the past; a recollection.
ex. "One of my earliest memories is of sitting on his knee"
"Happy memories of her young days"
Synonyms: recollection, remembrance, reminiscence; impression
The "Lost in a Shopping Mall" Study
In one of the first cases of successful implantation (Loftus & Coan, 6), a 14 year old boy named Chris was supplied with descriptions of three true events that supposedly happened in Chris's childhood involving Chris's mother and older brother Jim. Jim also helped construct one false event. Chris was instructed to write about all four events every day for five days, offering any facts or descriptions he could remember about each event. If he could not recall any additional details he was instructed to write "I don't remember."
The false memory was introduced in a short paragraph. It reminded Chris that he was five at the time, that Chris was lost at the University City shopping mall in Spokane, Washington where the family often went shopping. That Chris was crying heavily when he was rescued by an elderly man and reunited with his family.
Over the first five days, Chris remembered more and more about getting lost. He remembered that the man who rescued him was "really cool." He remembered being scared that he would never see his family again. He remembered his mother scolding him.
A few weeks later Chris was reinterviewed. He rated his memories on a scale from l (not clear at all) to ll (very, very clear). For the three true memories, Chris gave ratings of 1, 10, and 5. For the false shopping mall memory, he assigned his second-highest rating: 8. When asked to describe his getting lost memory, Chris provided rich details about the toy store where he got lost and his thoughts at the time ("Uh-oh. I'm in trouble now.") He remembered the man who rescued him as wearing a blue flannel shirt, kind of old, kind of bald on top.... "and, he had glasses."
Chris was soon told that one of the memories was false. Could he guess? He selected one of the real memories. When told that the memory of being lost was the false one, he had trouble believing it.
Do you remember the picture at the beginning of our presentation?
Interesting Things About Memory
False memory/planting memories
Memory is split into two main types:
Short Term, or working memory:
Retention of information that undergoes little processing or interpretation and can be recalled for only a few seconds. Short-term memory can retain about seven items.
Long Term Memory:
Information stored in the brain and retrievable over a long period of time, often over the entire life span of the individual.
Individuals with hyperthymesia can recall almost every day of their lives in near perfect detail, as well as public events that hold some personal significance to them. Those affected describe their memories as uncontrollable associations, when they encounter a date, they "see" a vivid depiction of that day in their heads. Recollection occurs without hesitation or conscious effort.
'Alexandra often feels frustrated with her preoccupation with the past. "It seems like you hold onto everything, and it seems like you're just stuck in the past all the time," she says.'
'She described her life as like a split-screen television, with one side showing what she is doing in the present, and the other showing the memories which she cannot hold back.'
Memory allows us to learn
Memory is fallible/malleable
Memory helps us form sense of identity
Relation to the other Ways of Knowing
Memory Allows Us To Learn
Procedural memory allows us to retain knowledge of skills.
It is the encoded information that we do not consciously recall.
We can do things "automatically"
e.g. riding a bicycle
Allows us to actively recall facts and information or past experiences
Semantic and Episodic
the content of our memories is, at least initially, composed of sensory information.
language is one way of preserving memory through generations.
e.g. traditions, culture, legends, etc. are often passed on orally/through written text.
emotional events are more likely to be remembered, though the accuracy of those events are like any other.
"The act of forgetting crafts and hones data in the brain as if carving a statue from a block of marble. It enables us to make sense of the world by clearing a path to the thoughts that are truly valuable." IB ToK book, P. 102
Memory is Fallible/Malleable
Memory Helps Us Form A Sense of Identity
"Through our memories, we grow our personal sense of identity and our sense of our place within the shared knowledge and shared life of our communities."(p.97)
Happy or sad, certain memories play a significant role in our lives and how we understand the world
Write about a memory of an experience that you think changed/ had an impact on your life
Definition: memories that seem incandescently lit by their emotional impact at the time.
A collaborative group of memory researchers have tracked the memories of Americans of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. They surveyed 3,000 Americans within days of the event, then at intervals thereafter. After one year, participants were roughly 60% right about the details as they remembered them and 50% right after three years. However, the decay of memory did not affect the vividness of their recall or their faith in the accuracy of their memories.
Source: P. 103 ToK book
Listen to these words and try to remember as many as possible
door, glass, pane, shade, ledge, sill, house, open, curtain, frame, view, breeze, sash, screen, shutter
How do the other Ways of Knowing relate to memory?