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Schacter. 7 Sins of Memory Transience—loss with time Absent mindedness Blocking—retrieval failures Misattribution—source errors Suggestibility Bias Persistence.

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Presentation on theme: "Schacter. 7 Sins of Memory Transience—loss with time Absent mindedness Blocking—retrieval failures Misattribution—source errors Suggestibility Bias Persistence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Schacter

2 7 Sins of Memory Transience—loss with time Absent mindedness Blocking—retrieval failures Misattribution—source errors Suggestibility Bias Persistence

3 Transience Forgetting over time: decay? Interference? Decay: see articles about mouse brain and about juggling and brain changes Interference: more similar events “run together”


5 Transience Ebbinghaus forgetting curve Diary studies—similar, but less forgetting

6 Transience Write down what you did 2 weeks ago today Write down what you did yesterday Write down what you did last Thanksgiving

7 Transience Aging—faster loss of information Older people—rely more on general memory of what happened; recall fewer specifics More education, continued brain activity helps preserve memory in old age

8 Transience Brain damage studies: hippocampus and frontal lobe HM—had inner parts of both temporal lobes removed (including hippocampus) HM could not form new memories

9 Transience fMRI—can indicate which words most likely to be remembered (ones accompanied by most lower left frontal lobe activation) Left frontal lobe—used for elaboration, meaningful processing Similar study for pictures—right frontal lobe involved instead of left

10 Transience Working memory Phonological loop—normally fades quickly KF—brain damage back part of parietal lobe KF had impaired phonological loop, but still could form long term memories

11 Transience Phonological loop—needed to learn new vocabulary

12 Transience Narratives and memory—talking about experiences makes them memorable Study with children—trip to a museum (not in this book)

13 Transience Are memories “gone” or is it just “cue- dependent forgetting?” Both! Relate to: Rovee-Collier studies with infants; PDP model Studies: Wagenaar self study—with enough cues, usually could remember

14 Transience Mnemonics: usually too much work to use on a daily basis Noice & Noice: study of actors; implications for us Foods, herbals, etc. and memory: must separate specific effects on memory from general arousal effects and such

15 Transience Genetics—probably some genetic reasons for individual differences in memory Mice—engineered to have better memory by gene change for NMDA receptor activity Smart drugs or smart genes ?

16 Absent mindedness Recollection vs. familiarity Divided attention decreases recollection, but not familiarity Divided attention decreases lower left frontal lobe activity, lowers memory Automaticity Massed vs. spaced practice effects

17 Absent mindedness Change blindness—see demos:djs_lab demosdjs_lab demos

18 Absent mindedness Prospective memory—remembering to do something in future Event-based: to do something when some event occurs Time-based: to do something at a specific time in future

19 Absent mindedness Time based is harder than event based; good strategy is to change time to event based

20 Blocking Most commonly with people’s names “names not connotative” John Stuart Mill Theory: common names—several conceptual links to lexical representation Proper names—conceptual link to “person identity node” which then links to lexical representation

21 Blocking Argument is that several links are better than just one link Additional factors: common names have synonyms, and common objects can be described at different levels

22 Blocking Proper name anomia—left frontal lobe, especially temporal pole area Common names farther back in temporal lobe Can lose names or names + places (but never just places)

23 Blocking Tip of the Tongue (TOT) “ugly sisters theory”—intrusive word retrieval interferes with target retrieval Not well-supported: giving similar sounding words doesn’t make it worse; targets with many phonological neighbors not more of a problem

24 Blocking Best explanation: weakened connection to lexical representation can’t quite activate phonological representation; weakened due to long time since encountered

25 Blocking Incubation? Probably not due to unconscious ongoing retrieval process Incubation probably due to retrieval cues from experience of thought processes

26 Blocking Repression? Some evidence for directed forgetting Retrieval inhibition apparently can occur New neurological studies may elucidate eventually Individual differences: some people are “repressors”—good at shutting down memories of some things

27 Misattribution Déjà vu—a misattribution of current experience to past Misattribution also called “source error” Bystanders at crime risk being identified by eyewitnesses as perpetrator Memory binding—connecting parts of experience into unitary whole

28 Misattribution Binding failures can cause misattributions, as events, place, actors, time confused Imagining an event can create misattributions—attribute memory to actual experience instead of imagination Older people encode more generally (fewer specifics) which yields more misattributions

29 Misattribution Memory conjunction error—combine different stimuli (words, faces) into one Hippocampus involved in binding process, based on brain injuries, fMRI studies

30 Misattribution Familiarity—if stimulus judged to be familiar, may misattribute source of that familiarity Eyewitnesses, lineups, mug shots—if have seen picture of person, may cause familiarity that is misattributed to crime scene

31 Misattribution “Truth machine?”—PET scans show different brain activation for new vs. old stimuli But: may have been artifact of experimental design; ERP study did not support “Brain fingerprinting?” (Farwell)--doubts

32 Misattribution Brain activity does differ when retrieving specific vs. general memories Some people make more misattributions than others; may relate to specificity of their recall and how much they base decision on specific recall vs. familiarity Distinctiveness heuristic—if told to say “old” only when recall specifics, fewer errors

33 Misattribution Misattribution disorders: seeing film stars everywhere Damage to frontal lobes—problems with monitoring source, problems with “person identity node” processing “face recognition unit”??—recent studies not sure; may be highly familiar unit

34 Misattribution Fregoli delusion—very specific false memories, e.g., that a stranger is “inhabited” by friend or famous person Frontal lobe monitoring systems faulty Cryptomnesia—something old perceived as new; unconscious plagiarism (“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”)

35 Suggestibility Loftus studies—eyewitnesses & misleading post-event questions Confidence of new memories not predictive of their accuracy Even recent memories can be affected by misleading post-event information Telling Ss doesn’t stop it from happening

36 Suggestibility Lineup procedure—confirming feedback makes eyewitness confident; juries convinced by confident testimony Telling Ss to ignore information does not work—e.g., Judge: “The jury will ignore what the witness just said.”

37 Suggestibility Hypnosis—easy to create incorrect, but confidently held memories Cognitive interview: leads to better recall with less increase in wrong memories Elements of C.I.: 1. Free recall 2. Reinstate context 3. Try different temporal order 4. Try different perspectives

38 Suggestibility False confessions—due to coercion, attention seeking, or spontaneous misattributions Memory distrust syndrome—if don’t trust own memory monitoring, easier to believe you did things imagined or suggested Interrogative suggestibility—some people very susceptible to such problems

39 Suggestibility Kassin’s study: student’s convinced by E they had hit ALT key, when hadn’t, if witness told them they had Thus, under certain conditions, many of us can have memories suggested to us

40 Suggestibility False memory syndrome—e.g., recovered memories of child abuse Usually memories “recovered” during therapy; some therapists use highly suggestive techniques Some things recalled quite hard to believe—e.g., satanic ritual abuse memories

41 Suggestibility Lab studies demonstrate ease of creating false memories Loftus—lost in the mall studies Spanos—infant memories (day of birth) suggested & subjects “retrieved” Imagery—if can get Ss to imagine it, some will confuse as actual memory

42 Suggestibility Dream interpretation—can create false memories Individual differences—high score on Gudjonsson interrogative suggestibility scale: more false memories Some people still in prison due to apparent false memories created by interviewers— Amirault, Wenatchee

43 Bias 5 types: consistency, change, hindsight, egocentric, & stereotypical biases Consistency bias—alter memories of how we previously felt & thought to be more consistent with current feelings & thoughts “implicit theory of stability”—belief that our beliefs have not changed over time

44 Bias Change bias—belief that our feelings & thoughts have changed over time, more than they actually have More likely than consistency bias when we believe they SHOULD HAVE changed E.g.: PMS study—real-time data show no correlation between emotions & cycle; memories for emotions are correlated

45 Bias Consistency & change biases together— relationships over time Either can lead to positive or negative results If relationship sours, consistency bias may lead to believing it always was bad If relationship hasn’t actually changed, positive change bias makes happier

46 Bias Combination found for happy long-term relationships: positive change bias as relationship declines in happiness (honeymoon is over), followed by consistency bias if happiness actually declines (real-time ratings)


48 Bias Consistency & change biases help reduce cognitive dissonance

49 Bias Hindsight bias—I knew it all along! Measure prediction & confidence in it Once outcome known, tendency to remember having thought that would happen If remember actual prediction correctly, still tend to change confidence level in line with new knowledge

50 Bias Hindsight bias a problem in trials, as warning people not to let new information affect their opinion does not work

51 Bias Egocentric bias—tend to trust our own memories more than those of others, partly due to awareness of vividness of own memories People think they were more responsible for events than they were, even for negative events

52 Bias Positive illusions—more positive view of self than justified; maybe is good for us; does distort memory due to egocentric bias Sometimes exaggerate negativity of earlier situation to make improvement seem greater (“deprecate past selves … for more favorable view of present self”)

53 Bias Stereotypical bias—tend to more easily remember info that is consistent with a stereotype Can create self-perpetuating cycle: bias— selective memory—support for bias—etc.

54 Bias Left-brain, right-brain & bias: right brain remembers rather accurately, in rote fashion, what was perceived; left brain explains & interprets Thus, left brain source of bias But, if only had right brain memory, would be less comprehending

55 Persistence Arousal—can make memories stronger, but mainly for emotion-arousing stimulus (other aspects remembered less well) Some evidence negative memories fade faster than positive Dilemma—talk about bad memories or avoid them? May be individual difference

56 Persistence Some people ruminate excessively about negative events; can prevent recovery Women tend to be more ruminating than men; women have more depression problems than men; coincidence?? Solution may be to disclose to others (confession?); various studies support

57 Persistence PTSD—trying too hard to avoid thinking about in short run may make long-term fixation greater (rebound effect) But, recent studies don’t support forced counseling for students when classmate dies

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