Reading Activity Week #9 (Due Thursday)

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Please look though the 'Memory Observed" book. Find a chapter that interests you.

State what the chapter is and breifly discuss the main topics and concepts that were brought up in the chapter.

What are some questions you have after reading the chapter?

Next go to your textbook and see what it has to say about the topics raised in the chapter. This might be difficult so if there is even something remotely similar in the text go ahead and read up on that. When you have done this, please respond to the following questions.

What did your text have to say about the topics raised in this chapter? What information was provided in the text? What additional details did your text provide?

What did you think about this chapter? Why? What are three things you will remember from what you read in the chapter? Why? What was one thing that you really liked that was in the chapter? Why? What was one thing that you disliked that was in the chapter? Why? What do you now know about your brain that you didn't know before reading the chapter? Has this chapter made you think about other issues related to cognitive psychology? How does this chapter (if at all) relate to the material in the AoM chapters?

Please make sure you use the terms, terminology and concepts you have learned so far in the class. It should be apparent from reading your post that you are a college student well underway in a course in psychology.

Include a list of the terms and concepts you used in your post. (example - Terms: memory, cortex, visual system....)

Please use spaces between your paragraphs to make your post easier to read - thanks in advance

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Reading Activity – Week #9

Chapter 19 : Gender Differences in the Recall of a Close Relationship

The chapter talked about the differences between a man and a woman in the recall of certain memories and how it is different between the two. In the study done, the man and woman were asked to recall incidents of their past, their first date, their last vacation together, and a recent argument between the two of them. They were first asked to reply to these questions by themselves, and then again with their spouse with them. In both conditions, the researcher asked the people to come together to provide the exact story of each of the incidents. The results gave the impression that female’s memories are more vivid. They also added that males are more independent, rationale, and competent whereas females are more emotional and seen as dependent. Females are more aware of the feelings of others and more expressive in their own feelings. Overall it does not prove that females have better memories, it just gives support to the idea that women possess different values and have different roles in the family.

I wonder why it is that females tend to recall things more than males. I know that they mentioned that females have a social role to remember things dealing with their family, but still. I think that females find things like their first date with their spouse as something of great importance and something that they want to keep in their memory so therefore they think about that event more often than men. I don’t think that men are inclined to remember something like that because it may not mean that much to them. Not to criticize men, but I don’t think that they find it as important as women do, therefore they don’t really care.

My book talked about the unconscious and how there are processes that allow for us to forget minor details that may play a huge role like it did in the study talked about in the Memory Observed book. One of the processes that allows for unconsciousness if inattention. Inattention is seen every day and can be a proper way of understanding why certain things are not remembered. The example used in the book talked about how a person may be able to see something but they are not aware of it because they may be paying attention to something else. This may have also been the case during the actual experiment, their attention may be focused on something else, like making their wife feel good because she is talking about something that is making her happy ( their first date) and he may not want to interrupt or tell her she is wrong. Other processes that come into play in the unconscious is Thresholds. Thresholds are when certain impressions have too low of too high of energy frequencies to reach consciousness. Therefore, they are unable to detect them. Other processes include identification, acute forgetting, chronic forgetting, repression, defense mechanisms, and finally, blocking of the memories.

I thought that this chapter was very interesting and provided great insight to our memories. I was very surprised to learn that females tend to have a better memory of certain events. I still have some questions regarding that like I stated before, but overall, it was very interesting. I didn’t like they didn’t explain in detail how females remember more things while men tend not to. I wish they would have broken the theory down and made it make more sense. Maybe I wasn’t getting everything that they were saying though. This chapter relates to a lot of topics that we have been talking about in class. One being short term versus long term memories as well as repression of our memories and how that comes about. Memory is something that is very important and also something that we have done a lot of reading and researching about so to read this and find out a little more about our memories was very cool.

Terms: Short- Term Memory, Long-Term Memory, Repression of memories, memory processes, unconsciousness, thresholds, inattention

I chose to read two chapters because they were both very short and they related to the same concept. chapter 32 & 33 discussed memory loss and distortions. In chapter 32, Jack Hamilton, a famous baseball pitcher for the Angels, discussed his memory of hitting Tony Conigliaro during a baseball game in 1967. Even though Jack was the pitcher and was not the one with injuries, he seemed to be suffering the most. His remorse for hitting Tony seemed to consume his life. Also, he is unable to make sense of the event and his memories of what actually occurred that day seemed to be distorted. In chapter 33 a women, given the name DN in the book, was seeking therapy for child abuse that she had experienced early in her life. DN was 35 years old and one of the remarks her therapist made sparked DN’s memory in which she suddenly recalled having been raped. DN’s memory had completely forgotten the traumatic event that occurred when she was 22. DN was overwhelmed that she had forgotten that she was raped and even went to court in which the rapist was found guilty. Both of these cases discussed how our memory copes with traumatic events. Some events are overwhelming with emotions and therefore our memory tries to erase them whereas other memories are distorted. After reading these two chapters one main question I had is whether there are certain coping mechanisms that work better than others and which help our memories store traumatic events safely. Also, I questioned how our memory decides what events are too traumatic to remember and which memories are distorted.

The first concept I found in my text that related to chapter 35 was memory distortions. Memory distortions occur when people say certain things or events have occurred to them whether or not the actual event did occur. For example, Jack Hamilton remembered returning to Boston that year for another game after the incident with Tony C. However, the truth is Jack’s team, the Angels, didn’t return to Boston until the 1968 season. His memory is most likely confused with playing a Saturday afternoon game when the incident occurred and returning Sunday for the double-header. Either way, Jack’s memory distorted what events actually happened because of the overwhelming emotions he had from hitting and hurting Tony C. Next, my book relates to chapter 33 in which DN lost complete memory of being a rape victim. My text describes repressed memories as memories that have been pushed down into unconsciousness because of the distress of a traumatic event. My text didn’t do a very good job at explaining how or why repressed memories happen. Instead, it talked a lot about how many psychologists doubt that repressed memories exist. The text suggests that some therapists can accidentally implant ideas into their clients heads. This creates false memories of events that never took place. This idea might be true that when DN’s therapist made the comment, “victims of child abuse often continue to be victimized as adults,” she felt that she had experience another traumatic event as an adult. However, since DN has court records showing that her rapist was found guilty, I don’t believe her repressed memory is fabricated or a false event. Lastly, my book explains that when we recall events that are emotional there is more activation in the amygdala. When we recall an experience, we often associate the degree of detail and intensity of emotions to which we are accurately remembering the event.

Overall I liked reading both of these chapters. I found it very interesting that our memory is capable of blocking or erasing certain events. The first idea that I’ll remember came from chapter 35. After reading about Jack’s case, I have a better understanding how memory distortion works. Although Jack remembers hitting Tony C and that the event did occur, his memories are vague and distorted when he recalls the event. Another concept I’ll remember comes from DN’s case. It was interesting to learn that what triggered her memory of being raped came from her therapists comment. Even though she had experienced being rape and even went to court, her memory erased the event completely until she really thought about her therapists remark. The last idea I’ll remember is that in DN’s case, the true forgetting occurred prior to recovery. When DN entered therapy she had an interview which assessed her previous history with abuse. At that time, she did not acknowledge that she had been a victim of rape 13 years prior. DN’s memory had truly forgot the rape experience and was unable to recall the event during the recovery process of therapy.

I really liked how this chapter was real life experiences. The first experience in chapter 35 was something that most of us could relate to. Jack accidentally hurt a fellow baseball player and he felt an overwhelming sense of remorse for this incident. In chapter 36 the situation was more serious in which DN was raped. However, it was interesting to see how DN’s memory coped with this traumatic event. If I had to chose something that I disliked it would come from chapter 35. It would have been more helpful if the chapter had been a little longer and more in depth. I was able to understand Jack’s memory distortions however, the chapter was very brief and did not explain why or how memory distortions occur.

I learned from my text that the amygdala is highly activated when we recall memories that involve emotions. In class, we have discussed which parts of the brain operate during different functions. Also, this chapter relates to our discussions about memory. We have read several cases in A&M where individuals suffer memory loss and more. I feel Jack & DN’s cases both relate to stories we’ve seen in A&M where their brains are functioning yet their memory is suffering.

Terms: memory, memory distortions, repressed memory, amygdala, memory processes

I decided to read chapter 27 which was titled, “On Memory and Childhood Amnesia.” This chapter questions why most people do not remember their childhood experiences, but are able to recall words, objects, and people’s names from childhood. One reason may be because as a child grows older they use these words, objects, and names continuously because it is needed for a child to learn to adapt to their environment. Another question this chapter raises is why do adults forget so much about their childhood when that point in their life was the most enriching time. It is during early childhood when a child becomes aware of each of their five senses and uses them to satisfy their curiosities in the world. As an adult we lose these curiosities. While reading this chapter I was immediately reminded of the speech I watched on Ted Talks. This chapter reminded me specifically of how a person experiences conflicts between their “experiencing self,” and their “remembering self.” One question I have from this chapter is, “Are there biological factors that prevent an adult from remembering their childhood up until or around their sixth or seventh year of life?”

After reading this chapter in the Memory Observed book I chose to focus on the retrieval modes that were explained in my textbook. Most people are familiar with the term retrieval mode because the words pretty much define the term immediately. A retrieval mode is just what it sounds like; it is a mode in which a person retrieves a memory. Depending on the type of memory that is being retrieved separate parts in the brain become activated. Some researchers have used PET scans and fMRI’s to see what specific parts in the brain are becoming activated. In most scans it seems to be the region in the anterior prefrontal cortex located in the right hemisphere that lights up when a person is retrieve a memory that made up an event in their past. Other areas of the brain may become activated due to the level of emotions attached to that memory. Scans show that not only is the anterior prefrontal cortex being used, but so are some temporal regions when a person is trying to recall an emotional episode (Kellogg 2003).

Once again I thought my textbook was lacking information on the topic of retrieval processes because I am sure there is much that can be talked discussed on the matter. Three things I remembered dealt with what is known as encoding specificity. Once I became aware that encoding specificity refers to the reuse of encoding operations to determine what retrieval cues are most effective when retrieving information it was easier to understand how encoding specificity and retrieval modes are related. I can clearly see that both encoding and retrieval are necessary to effectively recognize and recall. I enjoyed reading this part of the chapter because it can help me to understand how to effectively study in college. For example, a study conducted by Light and Carter-Sobell (1970) shows that when encodings are very distinctive and retrieval cues are available and match the encoding cues a person is extremely more able to recall information. This data can support the fact that most students do better multiple choice tests compared to essay tests because on a multiple choice test they are given the correct answer among other answers compared to an essay test where a student would have to recall the answer based on memory only. There was not much I could complain about in this chapter except for the fact that I wish it included short-term memory tests, which I could use to understand the problems that may occur when trying to retrieve information.

I am now aware of other reasons why an adult may have problems retrieving memories from early childhood. Issues with encoding and retrieving are just two ways in which memories may be lost. I also learned about specific areas in the brain that are active when a person is attempting to recall information specifically an event or an emotional episode they experienced in life. This chapter relates to the chapter in the AOM book entitled, “The Landscape of His Dreams.” In that chapter Franco’s memory was not natural because instead of forgetting unimportant details of his past like the visual input, he instead became fixated on these details and was able to recall intricate designs in his surrounding environment. Like I stated before those of you who also listened to the Ted Talk entitled, “The Riddle of Experience v. Memory,” it is easier to understand the connection between memory and experiences.

Terms: Retrieval mode, encoding specificity, encoding, cues.

When you say chapter do you mean a whole section (the ones labeled part 1, 2, 3 and so on) or do you mean a small entry (like the ones with just numbers next to them)? I read a whole section, but I was not sure because all the posts above me only read entries.

I read the section on Trauma: Real and Imagined. This section was about trauma and how certain types of trauma can be real, but forgotten from a time ago, or made up but seem real to the person. Most of the readings in this section dealt with accounts of people, but the very first one dealt with an experiement on the memories of those who had been in a concentration camp. In all of these people discussed moments in their life that were traumatic and what they could remember about the situation.

In a few of the chapters false memories or implanted memories were found in a few individuals. For false memories, memories are created by the individual that they believe are real and have happened. In implanted memories, another individual plants a memory in another individual and in turn, this individual believes that this is true and that it did happen. When information that is false is presented along with information that the person knows it true, it is easier to implant a memory. In the section titled "A retractor's story" the woman in the story goes to a therapist who implants memories in her about being sexually abused by her mother and other family members. The therapist would push her to remember things, maybe suggest things to her for her to imagine, to where she would then remember thigs that seemed so real to her but never really happened. This type of situation is also consistent with the misinformation effect.

Still, another thing that could be going on with this individual is what is called delusional false memory. While she was being prepped for these sort of memories, she was still imagining it herself. This type of memory is one in which an individual has strong beliefs that a bizarre event occured and they acutally experience a memory of the event like it did happen. She would go through times where she would see her mother abusing her, and remember certain things about it like it really did happen.

Another thing brought up in the chapters were people who had forgotten certain traumatic events in their lives. In one specific chapter "A genuine recovered memory" a women had completely forgotten that she had been raped and that she had actually gone to trail to testify agaisnt the man who did it. Those who go through this sort of experience are said to be going through repression. Repression is a defense mechanism that protects the ego from anxiety by preventing an unpleasant memory from entering conciousness. While is seems, at least in this case, to be a sort of weak interpretation of her situation... it could also be because of another factor.

She could be experiencing what is called trauma-induced amnesia. Researchers argue that stress narrows attention, and this in turn could affect the encoding of the specific event. If information is encoded wrong, recalling it is not something easily done. With trauma-induced amnesia the person experiencing a trauma experiences it as if it was happening to someone else, or avoids the event by "traveling" mentally to somewhere else. With this, the woman could have encoded that this was someone else's experience and forgotten it because it was not important to her.. or could have been somewhere else for the whole event entirely, mentally. When she remember the event she could have recoded it for it to make more sense to her, that it really did happen to her.

There are plently more topics brought up in the chapter like flashbulb memory, but I think it is pretty obvious what the main points were. I like this chapter because it showed how the memory is not so perfect, we cannot assume that everything we remember is correct. People can completely create a new memory and think it is true, but this is entirely not the case. I can't really think specifically how this relates to the AOM chapter, but it does relate to how memory can be influenced. Nothing really bad to report about the chapter, except for maybe how vivid it was when talking about some of the rape stuff. Something interesting to note that I learned more about is the fact that implanted memories can become more intact if they are told with other things that are true. Pretty interesting chapter altogether, and I would recommend it.

terms: encoding, retrieval, false memories, implanted memories, misinformation effect, delusional false memory, repression, induced-trauma effect

Chapter 4—Personal Event Memories

Some of my questions brought up in today’s class lecture relate really well to this chapter in Memory Observed. Why are some of our memories stored in such vivid detail and others are are forgotten? How does our brain know where to look for these specific, detailed memories? Are all the portions of a single memory stored in the same place in the brain, or are they scattered into different regions?

The main topic of this chapter deals with personal event memories. A little bit of background information about how memories are stored helped me to understand these types of memories a little better. The textbook states that long-term memory is coded acoustically, visually, and semantically. Semantic codes are those that are related to meaning. (Solso, MacLin & MacLin, 2005, pp. 186). This specifically applies to personal event memories, as well as a related topic of autobiographical memories.

Now to the topic of the chapter in Memory Observed. The chapter defines personal event memories by certain characteristics. A few of them include, “1) the memory represents a specific event that took place at a particular time and place, rather than a general event or an extended series of related happenings. 2) It contains detailed accounts of the rememberer’s own personal circumstances at the time of the event. 3) a verbal narrative account of the event is accompanied by sensory images, including visual, auditory, olfactory images or bodily sensations, that contribute to the felling of “reexperiencing” or “reliving” (pp. 38). There are a few other items that characterize these memories, but these specifically relate to concepts in the textbook.

As already mentioned, characteristic number three relates to how memories are coded into long-term memory, and thus, are able to be recalled in such detail. The other concept from the textbook that relates to this chapter is that of autobiographical memories. Autobiographical memories are memories of an individual’s past history. According to the text “autobiographical memories, if not perfect, are generally quite good” (Solso, MacLin & MacLin, 2005, pp. 194). However, after reading up on both of these types of memories, I think that personal event memories involve a more accurate representation of the event that occurred.

I also thought a quote in the textbook really related to this chapter in Memory Observed. The quote from David Rubin states, “It seems to be that reminiscence flows more freely about the period in life that comes to define you…” (pp. 197). This relates to the chapter because it gave a lot of personal stories of individuals who could remember certain defining moments with great accuracy.

I enjoyed reading this chapter and after today’s class lecture on long-term memory, I feel like I have an even better understanding of memory and how it relates to this chapter in Memory Observed. It really relates to what we talked about—how does the brain decipher what will be stored into LTM? A few things I particularly liked about this section was the author’s opening paragraph, about whether or not he will remember, in detail, writing this specific chapter. Or whether it will be forgotten, like so many other events in our lives. I think it was a good lead-in into what the chapter gets at as far as what the brain selects to remember. I also really liked the personal accounts added into this chapter. I think it illustrates a good representation of what exactly personal event memories are. All of the personal stories were self-defining moments in the person’s life that will be carried with them, no matter how much time has passed.

Terms: long-term memory, coding, acoustic coding, visual coding, semantic coding, personal event memories, autobiographical memories

Chapter 44: Memorists

This chapter recanted numerous cases of individuals with superior abilities to memorize in particular areas. At the beginning of the chapter the deliniation is made between a memorist (one having a good memory) and a Mnemonist (Someone who uses Mnemonic devices). The stories from this chapter are from people who do not use any type of device, they merely have the ability for amazing memory.

One question I had after this chapter was if I myself have a unique ability like a memorist. Throughout my life, my ability to memorize numbers has been a very well known part of my identity. As a child and adolescent, I was deeply engulfed into sports statistics and while a life of being an adult has minimized this passion to an extent, I still could tell you every first over draft pick in the NFL draft since 1963. Today, I know just about every item number from my departments at the store where I supervise. These numbers are five digit numbers mostly, but it is a lot of numbers. While I do not possess any abilities to the entent this chapter discusses, I am certainly advanced to some degree in my ability to remember numbers.

My book has a chapter devoted to Mnemonics and Experts and reveals more astounding stories of individuals with superior abilities to remember. The texts discusses some interesting Mnemonic systems as well such as the early device called the Method of Loci. This method consists of identifying familiar places in a sequential order. Next, you create images of the to-be-recalled (TBR) items that are associated with the places. Finally, you recall these places by "revisiting" the places which cues the TBR items. A very primitive, simple form of recalling your past it seems. Also, many people are interested in the idea of a photographic memory. In my text, I found the term Eidetic Memory. This refers to an individuals ability to view an image and and project it exactly on to a surface. This rare phenomenon is interestingly mostly found in children.

The concept of extreme memorization abilities is rather fascinating and the different mnemonic devices utilized were previously unknown to me. I learned from reading through this material that for a very long time, we have utilized methods and devices for enhancing our memorization skills. The chapter also briefly discussed the idea that these cases of individuals with seemingly rare abilities to memorize in particular ways are in fact, not as uncommon as we thought. Reamarkably, it seems that most people possess some sort of "unusual" ability to memorize something. The most shocking concept and the one thing I will remember the most from this material is the story of S.F. who, in a year and a half, extended his memory span from seven digits to nearly eighty digits. Yeah, that is eighty, not eight. The book does not describe in detail how he was able to accomplish such a feat, but remarkably, none of his other neural networks seemed to be affected.

This whole reading made me think about how incredibly localized everything we seem to do is in our brain. Particularily, the case of S.F. and his amazing expansion of his memory span. Maybe even more amazing than his expansion, was that it was restricted to just that. His Short-term memory was unaffected, his ability to memorize letters was unaffected, his memory of visual images was unaffected. It was all basic learning and was localized to this one particular concept. Amazing.

Terms:Mnemonics, Memorists, Method of Loci, Eidetic Memory, Short-term Memory.

I have read two chapters from “Memory Observed” (29 & 30) that basically discuss the questions of when do first memories occur and how accurate are they. The reading somehow surprised me as it stated that the earliest memories occur about the age of 2.3-2.4 years old. Before this period we do not actually remember anything about ourselves - a condition widely known and referred to as childhood amnesia. I have come across the belief that humans do not remember themselves before the age of three or four years old, as this is the time of development of their “self”. We have certain support of this idea in language development when kids to a certain age (again around 3 year) tend to use third person singular while talking about themselves: “Timmy ate an apple”, and after this period start referring to themselves in first person singular – “I ate an apple”. These differences do not only represent the stages of language development, but relevant aspects of cognitive development as well.
However from the reading I found out that according to the researches the earliest memories might be formed even in the first half of the second year of life. What is interesting, these memories are not less accurate than the adult’s one. The researchers also found a significant difference in the amount of memories of people describing the events taking place when they were 2.2-2.3 and 2.5-2.6 years old. It appeared to be that the first group had much better, or let us say much more memories than the second one. The explanation seems to be found in physiology of brain. It would probably be a bit hasty to claim that there is some tremendous development of memory exactly on the third month of the second year of life, but nevertheless we can assume that something important happens at that time in terms of brain development. Probably it is some kind of very short critical period for some cognitive ability. Again, there is evidence from language development as exactly at this period the so called vocabulary explosion happens – a geometrically progressing development of vocabulary in kids. Although this explanation seems adequate to me there are also other hypotheses for early memories formation – lack of fully hippocampal system, for example.
Although it was stated that such early memories are not less accurate than the adult’s one, it does not mean there is no room for mistake. And the main reason for it is that our memory is reconstructive. Even when people sure that some events or some details of the events took place – it could not be true. In fact, in a series of experiments after certain training about one third of all participants reported they had memories about the events that had never actually happened. In many cases the self-report memories were confused with or substituted by family stories. Some researches argue that the process of false recall creation most probably depends on accessing some relevant background information. In this case the problem occurs during the process of schematic reconstruction.
In conclusion I have to confess that after all these readings and discussions on memory I feel confused and wondered: to what extend I can rely on my own biographical memories, especially the childhood experiences, as there are so many biases and possibilities for false memorization and interpretation?
Terms used: schematic reconstruction, childhood amnesia, vocabulary explosion.

I read from Part V of Observed Memory and the majority of my discussion will be from chapter 26, “An Early Memory from Goethe’s Autobiography”. After reading this chapter I have many questions. Some parts of the chapter are covered in my text book and it also relates heavily to what we discussed in class today with long-term memory.
This chapter uses psychoanalytic theory as the backbone for its research findings. They have direct relation to the ideas of Freud and there are suggestions of the Oedipus Complex. I am usually not one to put full faith in psychoanalysis so this chapter provided me with a lot of questions - and a lot of areas for further research.
There are multiple case studies of patients giving self reports that the therapist/researchers in this chapters are using. These patients are recalling early childhood events - episodic memories - they remember most of what was happening at a certain place, at a certain time. The first and most well-known case study was the poet Goethe who lived from the mid to late 18th century. Neisser and Hyman reference his autobiography that tells a story form when Goethe was about four years old. He threw dishes on to the street. The reason seemed to be because his neighbors were reinforcing his behavior and cheering him on. However, we look at this behavior from another angle. In other case studies a similar event has taken place. Children between or around the ages of three or/and four have thrown items out the window. In all of these cases the child of three of fours years is a new big brother or sister or will be shortly.
It is interesting because in Goethe’s autobiography he makes no mention of a younger brother being born at the time of his dish throwing. Although research has proven that a the time of Goethe’s behavior he indeed had a new baby brother. What is more interesting is that even thought Goethe’s brother lived to be six years old (they were playmates for six years!) Goethe did not include him in his autobiography. And research found that Goethe’s mother mentioned that he showed little remorse when his brother died. Maybe Goethe had few of no memories of this brother that were relevant to his autobiography? Maybe Goethe and the other case study patients truly did have a hatred for their younger siblings that cause them to throw things out the window.
Maybe Goethe did not include is late younger brother in his autobiography because of a low level of processing. His brother was not important enough. Had their been more care for his younger sibling then there would have been a deeper processing level and the memories would have ‘stuck’.
Or! Maybe Goethe did not include his brother in his autobiography, more specifically including his brother in his dish throwing story. If he had included his younger brother Goethe may have said something I threw the dishes out or ruined them to symbolize the fact that I really wanted to get rid of my new brother -instead I am getting rid of these dishes… Not processing this connection could have happened in one of two ways. It could have been distinctiveness - which is where things are learned or remembered different from one another and other information already in memory. This could very likely be the case because Hermann Jakob was the second child born after Goethe. One way this information could have been remembered is through relational processing -meaning that information is processed in relation to each other and other information that has already been processed and is in our memory ‘bank’.
Another error that could have occurred in these case studies’ stories is in retrieval mode. We search our long-term memory to come up with a representation from the past. Maybe while recalling that story we realize that throwing things usually means anger (outside of sports) but, that is an adult reinterpreting something they had done as a child. Maybe when the original act was committed it was for not more than attention.
Throwing items out the window and misbehaving were interpreted to symbolize the older sibling wanting to throw their new sibling out the window and put things back to the way they were. I can see this relationship, I get the connection. But, in the back of my mind I can’t help but think that maybe these kids are throwing things because they just want attention? They do not truly hate their sibling - they just target them as having the thing that they want, their parents’ (more specifically their mother’s) attention.
I liked this chapter. This book did pick up from what I had read previously - the first chapter or the introduction basically. There are many things that I will remember about this chapter. The fact that Goethe is an important poet was something that I did not know but probably should have. I will also remember that they are a long list of possible theories that can be derived from Freud’s original research and postulations. Although most of what he said has been disproved we can’t help but see examples of what he was talking about - even in today’s society. I’ll remember the possible solutions that psychoanalysts offered as explanations for this behavior. Though I do not know how much support I give conclusions I have to admit that I do notice the connections they have made. And it is hard to deny their conclusions when such similar behaviors are displayed by children that are in the same situations.
There are many things in these chapters that I had not thought of before. Like, where are these subconscious memories stored? Can we have more importance put on a situation than we realize? Kids get into a lot of trouble many things getting broken in a number of ways for a number of reasons. But, why is it that these case studies remembered these particular incidents? Where were these memories preserved? Are their emotions (feelings of hate toward their new siblings) preserved with the memories? Are they semantic memories? There’s lots to be answered with this interesting subject. I didn’t realize how lucky I was being the younger sister of two older brothers!

Terms: Episodic Memory, Depths or Level of Processing, Distinctiveness, Relational Processing, Retrieval Mode.

I chose to read chapter 19, “Gender Differences in the Recall of a Close Relationship.” The chapter begins by introducing us to research done using married couples and their recall of past events in their relationship. This information is important because it can help us understand more about our partners, our relationships and ourselves.

Sixty couples that had applied for a marriage license in 1984-1985 participated. The experiment asked the couples to recall the following memories from their past: their first date together, their last vacation together and a recent argument they had. During the recall process, the couples were either alone or together. In one recall period the couple discussed together, the events while the researcher was not present. In the other together experiment the researcher was present in order to study the impact of their differing perspectives of their memories and the process of the ways in which the couples came to an agreement of past experiences. Participants also completed a series of questionnaires. The chapter discussed the various responses to the questionnaires using a 6-item scale.

The results indicated that the women reported more detailed and vivid memories and the 3 events compared to the men. The couples were better at recalling events together compared to when they were alone. The couples were more likely to have forgotten the events when they answered the questions together. Males also reported more memory failures than did the females. However when separated no gender differences were found.

The findings that report low memory recollection when the couples were asked questions together related to the concept of ‘transactive retrieval’. Transactive retrieval involves one spouse eliciting information from the other. The evaluation process indicated that both the men and women reported that females have better recall of details of past experiences than do men.

Research finds that women recall more details about intimate relationships because our culture perceives women to be more concerned with interpersonal relationships and the feelings of others. The study suggests that women are more likely to view past events as important and were more likely to reminisce about the events.

According to the reading there are possible explanations to these findings but the explanations are inconclusive. One possible explanation may be that women are relationship experts. Women tend to have a more defined, complex understanding about relationships than men do. Another explanation a may be that the men in the study happened to be older than the women and because age influences vivid memory recall, the men were less likely to remember detail; although there seems to be a lack of support.

Our culture defines gender roles; women tend to be viewed as homemakers and responsible for children and the family. Thus they are more attuned to the feelings of others. Little research has been done to conclude women’s memories are “better” than men’s. Due to the lack of research done in this area, women’s recall of vividness is still unknown compared to men. The reading was sure to note that accuracy for recall of events is NOT the same as vividness.

The chapter ends with a brief discussion of autobiographical memory. It is difficult to assess whether an individual was right or wrong when giving an autobiographical account because the memories are subjective and about the individuals personal experience.

I thought the chapter was interesting. It presented variables that are largely understudied . I know very little about married couples in respects to memory but would like to learn more.

I will remember the lack of significant findings on vividness of memory recall from men and women. Also that gender roles come into play when discussing memory. Lastly, according to the study, men and women agreed that women’s memory is superior compared to men’s.

I liked the fact that the study was fairly simplistic and easy to follow. In general, I tend to have a hard time following along when experimental data is presented and discussed. I was surprised to read there is relatively no evidence regarding the memory of adults and sex differences are rarely reported in published studies of memory. It would be interesting to know the difference between males and females attention.

The study used examples of explicit memory. The couples had to consciously search for the answers to the questions; the answers didn’t just “pop” up in their minds. The couples also had to search through their long-term memory bank to recall memories from years before. They weren’t always able to recall the events or remember specific details; this could partly be due to the lack of rehearsal.

The study briefly discussed autobiographical memories, which are memories of individuals past. The text and reading agree that autobiographical memories are difficult to verify. Also according to the text people remember certain parts of their lives more than others. The reading supports this finding when stating that the women in the study were able to report detailed and vivid memories of the events better than did the men. Women may find those specific events to be more significant while the men didn’t. The text also discusses episodic memory, which is the memory system that allows us to remember past events. The reading gives numerous examples of this type of memory. Episodic memory stores memories of personal experiences and also correlates with autobiographical memories.

Terms: transactive retrieval, autobiographical memory, explicit memory, episodic memory

False Memories of Childhood Experiences

This chapter in Memory Observed is based on the idea that human memories are susceptible to manipulation, including the insertion of false memories—the recollection of a specific event or details of an event that did not occur. After reading the chapter, I am curious to know how common false memories are in actual therapeutic settings, especially in the case of recalling traumatic childhood events.

My textbook covers a number of topics that closely relate to those found in the Memory Observed chapter. The first related topic discusses the term constructive memory. According to Solso, constructive memory is the idea that prior experience, post-event information, perceptual factors, and one's desire to remember certain events over others influence what we recall. Our memory's fallibility makes it possible for even the smallest influences to have a drastic effect given certain circumstances. In the instance of memory repression, it is easy for therapy patients to recall invented memories in order to satisfy the demands of the therapist. The text stresses the importance of questioning the credibility or authenticity of all repressed memories because contamination is so easily possible. I would say most people could probably identify at least one memory in which they were unsure about the details.

I really enjoyed this chapter because I can think of several occurrences when my friends and I remembered an event much differently. The differences in memory were not necessarily a result of different perspectives but because another friend recalled the event incorrectly and influenced the others' memories. I really liked how the experiments in the chapter were closely related. The second one was based off the first and just extended the variables. They both provided great examples of the concepts in the chapter.

The first thing I will remember from this chapter is the misinformation effect. After taking this course for a couple months now, I finally have a term to put with this concept I've been learning about. The idea that information obtained after an event without recollection of the source of the information applies to another term I learned about in an intro course. Unfortunately, I can't think of the term off hand but it was nice learning about a basic concept at a more in-depth level.

The second thing I will remember is how the studies showed that background information plays an important role in false memory recollection. In this case, people who had attended weddings as children were more susceptible to believing a false memory about a wedding from their past. Essentially the more similar the false memory is to their own real memories, the more likely a person will believe them. Our book talks about how new schemas are incorporated in with the old after being exposed to false memories. The original, underlying schema adds support to the false one and fills in all the missing gaps, making it appear true.

The final part of the chapter I found interesting is the effect authoritative sources have on the likelihood that an individual believes misinformation. This comes into play in every day life and in therapeutic settings as mentioned earlier. It's amazing the effect people can have one another. The best example can be seen with parents and their children. The majority of the time, parents can easily influence their children in every way possible. We look up to people who we respect and trust them to provide us with accurate information. In the case of therapy, therapists are usually paid professionals, or at least educated individuals.

Terms: false memories, constructive memory, repressed memories, misinformation effect

I looked at Phantom Flashbulbs by Neisser and Harsch. Looking at the title, “Phantom Flashbulbs” reminded me of “Phantom Limbs” and I was intrigued and was driven to read it. Turns out Phantom Flashbulbs are completely unrelated to Phantom Limbs (I should have known, what would it be doing in a book on memory?). The chapter did do a bad job of explaining what they were and I had to look it up on Google. Phantom Flashbulbs are incorrect memories of how news items are first learned. Neisser and Harsch were in fact looking at how their student’s memories of how they first found out about the Challenger would change over time.

I don’t think this sort of thing would occur to everyone and admire them. When the Challenger crashed, it occurred to the researchers that this was potential for a Phantom Flashbulb so they had their intro to psych students fill out a questionnaire about how they found out about the Challenger the very next day.

Two years later, they found these students again and gave them the same questionnaire. For clarity and to avoid a misunderstanding, I have to note this: not all of the students were still in the university and only about 44 of them actually participated in the second part of the study.

Except for a very few, none of the seconds reports matched with the originals and it had nothing to do with how confident the students were about what they remembered. Most of the students were totally off.
Intrigued by this, Niesser and Harsch called the students back and had them and interviewed the students again and then showed them the originals. I would have expected the students to say things like “Oh yeah! I remember that!” but they did not. The students denied the original reports and continued to support their secondary faulty memories.

In my text book there is an entire section on autobiographical memory. The idea is, you forget some things but remember others and the more time passes the less you remember. But forgetting having ever written the questionnaires is really something else. These individuals were provided with their own account of what had happened. This is fool-proof, almost unquestionable support that what they remembered happening two years ago was wrong. Yet they were confident that the altered memory was the correct one.

I think there is a little confounding going on here. I wonder what the results would be if the original reports had been typed up and provided to the students before the students filled out the questionnaire again. Maybe if the students were asked to pick their story from a list three, would they have been able to pick out the actual one? I am actually worried that the second questionnaire and then the interview gave the students reconstructed a false version of their memory from what the little that they did remember and then got a chance to rehearse a false version of their own story and that is why they are incapable of recognizing their original.

Terms: Flash bulb memory, memory, rehearse, reconstruction

This time I picked Chapter 30: False Memories of Childhood Experiences. Mainly what this chapter was about was a study that looked at the likelihood of being able to get the subjects to take-on or incorporate false memories into their memory and accept them as true or accurate.

After reading this section I was surprised that the rate of acceptance of the false event was so low. Before I read it I thought it would be higher. I suppose this is good, but I would like to see additional studies/experiments replicate these findings. Also, like this article suggests, the role that authority figures play could be a very important factor in believing it. So I wonder where that boundary lies and the differences within other groups (peers, siblings, etc). Also the study explains that the outcome of acceptance seems to be linked with if the subject has previous related information they can tag the new information to (i.e. they remember a birthday party at McDonalds, but not a clown; but it seems logical). I wonder the lines here as well. Also I wonder if repetition and/or time would change the outcome.

So then I turned to the textbook. I found a very related area that talks about memory errors and false memories. Here, the text explains that a lot of memory is reconstructive, which basically means that the brain cannot grab an exact memory with all the details automatically intact. Instead, our brain fills in the blanks and puts things together for us, whether it is right or wrong. Kind of like a puzzle, it takes the many tidbits of data and pieces it together. However, our mind can also be constructive. Here we take from our experiences and other influences such as perceptual and social factors as well as our longing to remember.

The text also explains the way questions are asked can also falsely construct memories. The book explains a test in which a list of associated words are shown and then the subject is suppose to write down as many as they remember and often times a highly associated word that was not in the original list ends up in the recalled list. The way things are worded can also make a big difference. Differing degrees of severity for example (i.e. upset vs. furious or leak vs. pouring) can alter a memory.

We have all, I’m sure, heard of repressed memories. The text explained that while some are true, some are not. These can often be the result of techniques used by therapists. The book explains these ways: leading questions, hypnosis, guided imagery, and encouragement to partake in support group activities.

Lastly, the text was pretty much in agreement with the chapter from Memory Observed. It had the rate of false memories in the 20%’s and the text has it at 25%. This is a quarter (1 out of 4) which is a pretty significant amount! And many of these do not just adopt the memory but often times they add to it!

I liked the chapter but worry about it too. I can see victims (true and honest) not being believed and not coming forward because they fear that they will not be believed. I also think about innocent people who are wrongly blamed and how this information could benefit them. Three things I will remember is you can create what, seems to me, illogical memories (such as pizza at McDonalds), that it is easier to create false memories if they can be link to an existing one, and some would create even further to their false memory. I will remember all these things because I found them strange. I really like the clear honesty the experimenters had in the article. They seem to really look for alternative explanations. I didn’t like the way the second experiment was worded, I found it kind of confusing. It related to many chapters in AoM because a lot of those dealt with memory. The one that sticks in my head the most would be the painter whose hometown was so much better in his paintings than in real life. I don’t know if this is due to false memories or the aging of the town, or a little of both. I didn’t know false memories would or could build over time, but it surely makes since. It really has helped realize the importance and implications of the cognitive function has on our everyday lives. It honestly could make a world of difference!

Terms: Memory, False Memories, Repetition, Memory Errors, Reconstructive, Brain, Experience, Constructive, Repressed Memories, Leading Questions, Hypnosis, Guided Imagery

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