Reconstructive Memory

An esssay on reconstructive memory with AO1 and  AO2 outlined!

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  • Created by: Chynnel
  • Created on: 13-04-14 15:39
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Eyewitness testimony
Reconstructive Memory ­ describe and evaluate
AO1 and AO2
The reconstructive memory was proposed by Bartlett. He suggested that the
memory is an active process and is not an accurate depiction of events. This is
because we only store fragments of it. As a result we try and fill in the gaps using our
`schemas'. These are packets of knowledge we have about past experiences,
events, objects, places and people. This means that when we recall an event we use
our schemas to fill in the gaps we do not remember so this leads to distortion of the
memory as it has been reconstructed hence the name reconstructive memory.
We can see this in research that has been conducted into schemas. For example
brewer and treyens 1981 study found that after allowing 30 participants one at a
time into an office with objects placed in different locations with some not
associated with example a skull and a brick, they were made to recall the objects
they had seen and findings showed that the participants were able to remember the
most unexpected object ­ the skull. People had substituted some items to ones
that were not there, e.g. a telephone which would usually be seen in an office. And
they were successful with recalling items with high schema expectancy (ones that
would be seen in an office).
This shows we use our schemas to reconstruct the memory and make sense of
events when information it has been forgotten.
This theory has strengths as it allows us to understand how we use our schemas to
conform to our personal beliefs about the world. However it does allow us to
understand why we may recall things that do not fit into our schemas.


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