This week we examined the effect of emotion on memory – looking at research on reconstructive memory and the question of the reliability of so-called “Flashbulb Memories.” From this week, you should know the following research:
Support for the reliability of memory:
Brown & Kulik’s original study.
Yuille & Cutshall’s Vancouver robbery study
Bahrick et al’s yearbook study
Support that memory is not reliable:
Bartlett’s War of Ghosts study.
Neisser’s study of the Challenger disaster
Crombag’s study of the KLM disaster
Loftus’s studies on reconstructive memory (post-event interference)
Please watch the video clip below. This is the famous “Lost in the Mall Study” done by Elizabeth Loftus.
Next week we will wrap up Flashbulb memory by seeing if there is any biological evidence to support it. Yes, biology is in your near future!
This week we returned to discuss our final memory model for this year – the Working Memory Model (Baddely & Hitch, 1974). At this point, you should know the key components of the model: the central executive, the episodic buffer, the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad. For a more in-depth explanation, here is a rather dry – but helpful – tutorial
The model is considered overly simplistic. Is there really only one STM store? If so, how can we explain multi-tasking? And remember all those different types of LTM? Procedural, semantic, etc? Different types of strokes appear to impair different forms of LTM.
The model does not explain memory distortion.
The model also does not explain the role of emotion in the creation of memory or why we don’t remember something in spite of rigorous rehearsal.
With me being gone and us wrapping up the SCLOA, the weekly summaries have gone a bit by the wayside. This week we started to look at memory theory. Here are the things that you need to be able to talk about:
The cognitive level of analysis arose as a response to Behaviourism. You should be able to state and explain the principles that we outlined in class.
Ebbinghaus was one of the earliest study of memory. He tried to see how many words could be remembered if they were stripped of context. He developed the idea of the forgetting curve. He found that over time, we remember only 25% of what we learn. Today this theory is largely discredit. Be able to explain why.
Short-term memory is limited in capacity and time. Miller found that STM capacity is 7 + or – 2, but can be expanded through a process called chunking.
We also started to look at the different types of memory. Memory can either be implicit or explicit. Also, memory can be declarative, procedural, or episodic (autobiographical, emotional). Case studies of individuals with amnesia, or who have suffered from stroke, have helped us understand the different types of memory.
Early researchers searched for the engram. Early researchers proposed the Theory of Equipotentiality – that is, memory is everywhere and nowhere. Today we talk about distributed memory.
Some memories may be localized. One example is the ability to remember faces. The inability to recall faces is prosopagnosia.
Finally, we started to look at what we do with our memories – we sharpen, level and assimilate. This takes us into next week’s work on schema theory.
A lot to start, but we will be using many of these terms repeatedly in this unit. For now, here is a video on memory which is rather intriguing.