Cognitive Psychology: Evaluation of reconstructine memory theory

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  • Evaluation of the reconstructive memory theory
    • Strengths
      • Bartlett concluded his research using 8 different stories on different ppts and he found consistent results. Therefore the theory can be praised for reliability and easily replicated.
      • The theory is seen useful as it warns us the fallibility of memory, For example, when asking eye witnesses to recall events of a crime they have seen. This suggests eye witness testimony isn't reliable and shouldn't be the only evidence used to convict in court which is useful.
    • Weaknesses
      • The theory lacks in mundane realism as it bears little use of how we use memory in everyday life. For example, a story that was culturally unfamiliar was used and that type of story isn't used in the modern society. Also it was criticised as a deliberate attempt to make evidence for his own theory which is researcher bias.
      • Further  research has been done in more ecological settings, which showed that memories of real life criminal events are not as influenced by previously stored schemas as Bartlett may lead us to believe. For example, Yuille and Cutshall investigated the accuracy of witnesses’ memories of a shooting in Canada and found that their memories were not affected by leading questions and were actually fairly stable and accurate over time. This then weakens the validity of the reconstructive theory of memory 
  • Weaknesses
    • The theory lacks in mundane realism as it bears little use of how we use memory in everyday life. For example, a story that was culturally unfamiliar was used and that type of story isn't used in the modern society. Also it was criticised as a deliberate attempt to make evidence for his own theory which is researcher bias.
    • Further  research has been done in more ecological settings, which showed that memories of real life criminal events are not as influenced by previously stored schemas as Bartlett may lead us to believe. For example, Yuille and Cutshall investigated the accuracy of witnesses’ memories of a shooting in Canada and found that their memories were not affected by leading questions and were actually fairly stable and accurate over time. This then weakens the validity of the reconstructive theory of memory 

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