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1. Reconstructive Memory Theory The reconstructive memory theory is concerned with what happens when information is stored and retrieved from memory. Memory is not like a…
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  • 1. Reconstructive Memory Theory The reconstructive memory theory is concerned with what happens when information is stored and retrieved from memory. Memory is not like a DVD where we mentally play back events and recall them exactly the way they happened. Bartlett suggested that memory is more of an “imaginative reconstruction” of past events; influenced by our attitudes and our responses to those events at the time they occurred. We tend to try and reconstruct memories on the basis of what we think probably happened, what usually happens, and what must have happened and so on. For example, if we saw a car crash and the police interview us, we may tell them we are sure that we saw a lot of broken glass on the road after the accident (even though there may not have been any!). The reason for such an inaccurate memory may be that we thought that that’s what usually/probably happens when two cars crash. Retrieval of stores memories thus involves an active process of RECONSTRUCTION. We piece the event together using a range of information. We use our schemas of things and events to reconstruct our memories of experiences. A schema is made up of all our previous experiences and expectations about an event. It can be thought as a “package of knowledge about a specific event”. For example our schema of a car crash may involve “broken glass”, “blood”, “chaos”, causing us to recall those things even though they may not have been present. Activity: What is your schema of a birthday party? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 1. How does memory work according to Bartlett?
  • 2. Bartlett developed the serial reproduction method of studying reconstructive memory (this is quite similar to the game of Chinese whispers). He used the story of “The war of the Ghosts” in serial reproduction studies because it was unfamiliar and different in cultural origins to the participants. Answer the following questions using Angles p62 1. What did Bartlett find once the story had been reproduced through six people? 2. Bartlett also used the repeated reproduction procedure. What does this involve? 3. What were the results when he used this procedure? 4. What did Bartlett propose was the reason for the results in question 1 an 3? 5. Define schema Strengths Weaknesses + Many studies have shown that our - The theory does not explain how memory is inaccurate. For example, it schemas are acquired in the first place explains memory distortion and inaccurate Eyewitness recalls in real life. + There is clear evidence that memories - It over-emphasizes the fallibility become more stereotyped following (inaccuracy) of memory when memory is reproduction – for example Carli (1999) generally quite accurate showed that students asked to reproduce a story ending with a rape, began to - This theory does not tell us how describe the rapist as threatening before information is processed and stored, as the event. This supports the idea that does the levels of processing approach memory is reconstructive
  • 3. War of the Ghosts One night two young men from Egulac went down to the river to hunt seals and while they were there it became foggy and calm. Then they heard war-cries, and they thought: quot;Maybe this is a war-partyquot;. They escaped to the shore, and hid behind a log. Now canoes came up, and they heard the noise of paddles, and saw one canoe coming up to them. There were five men in the canoe, and they said: quot;What do you think? We wish to take you along. We are going up the river to make war on the people.quot; One of the young men said,quot;I have no arrows.quot; quot;Arrows are in the canoe,quot; they said. quot;I will not go along. I might be killed. My relatives do not know where I have gone. But you,quot; he said, turning to the other, quot;may go with them.quot; So one of the young men went, but the other returned home. And the warriors went on up the river to a town on the other side of Kalama. The people came down to the water and they began to fight, and many were killed. But presently the young man heard one of the warriors say, quot;Quick, let us go home: that Indian has been hit.quot; Now he thought: quot;Oh, they are ghosts.quot; He did not feel sick, but they said he had been shot. So the canoes went back to Egulac and the young man went ashore to his house and made a fire. And he told everybody and said: quot;Behold I accompanied the ghosts, and we went to fight. Many of our fellows were killed, and many of those who attacked us were killed. They said I was hit, and I did not feel sick.quot; He told it all, and then he became quiet. When the sun rose he fell down. Something black came out of his mouth. His face became contorted. The people jumped up and cried.
  • 4. He was dead.
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