Reconstructive Memory

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Who developed the idea of reconstructive memory?
Bartlett.
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In what year was the theory of reconstructive memory developed?
1932
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What object did many people relate memory to?
A tape recorder.
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What did Bartlett think about how people remember things?
They try to make sense of it in terms that they already know.
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Where does the name "Reconstructive Memory" come from?
Bartlett's idea that a memory is a reconstruction of a previous memory.
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What is a schema?
A schema is an idea or script about the world which gives you expectations and rules about what to do.
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What does reconstructive memory highlight about recall is affected?
It highlights how recall is affected by schemas that already exist.
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What did Bartlett believe that schemas were capable of?
Distorting unfamiliar or unconsciously 'unacceptable' information, in order to 'fit in' with out existing knowledge/schemas.
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What is a practical issue with the affect of schemas?
They could make eye witness testimony unreliable.
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What may schemas be determined by?
Social/cultural norms.
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What is the famous study Bartlett conducted into reconstructive memory, and when was it conducted?
'War of the Ghosts' study in 1932
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What was Bartlett's aim in the 1932 'War of the Ghosts' study?
To test his theory of reconstructive memory.
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Why did Bartlett chose the Native American folk tale, 'War of the Ghosts'?
Because it was culturally unfamiliar to participants.
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What was the procedure of the 'War of the Ghosts' study?
20 students read the story twice, .
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What were the results of the 'War of the Ghosts' study?
20 recalled the story after minutes, weeks, months and years. (Longest gap, 2 years). Participants shortened the story, shortest reproduction happening after the longest gap.
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What were the results of the 'War of the Ghosts' study? (continued)
Participants also confabulated details, changing unfamiliar parts of the story to familiar ideas in line with their schemas. They also rationalised confusing parts of the story to make sense to them.
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What is an example of participants changing details due to their schemas (confabulation)?
Canoes and paddles became boats and oars, hunting seals became fishing.
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What are two supporting studies of reconstructive memory?
Allport and Postman (1947) and Loftus and Palmer (1974)
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What were the results of Allport and Postman, (1947) and how does it support reconsructive memory?
They found that, when asked to recall details of an image, ppts said it was the black man who was holding the razor. It supports the theory, as they changes their memory to fit society at the time.
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What were the results of Loftus and Palmer, (1974)?
They found that leading questions can manipulate memory. For example, 'smash' and 'hit' lead to different memories of the same event, e.g a car crash. More reported seeing glass that wasnt there when the cars 'smashed into each other. It supports as
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What were the results of Loftus and Palmer, (1974)? (cont.)
it shows previus knowledge of thee word 'smashed' affected recall.
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What is an opposing study of Reconstructive memory?
Wynn and Logie (1998)
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What was the procedure of Wynn and Logie (1998)?
Asked students about a real life event that had happened to them. They found that the memories were fairly resistant to change. This goes against reconstructive memory as it suggests that their memories remained pretty accurate.
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What are two general strengths of Reconstructive Model of memory?
The idea of Chinese whispers, people change it to make more sense to themselves. It can be tested by experimental methods, independent variable can be operationalised and measured, it can be measured scientifically.
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What are two general weaknesses of the Reconstructive Model?
It does not explain how memory is reconstructive, it describes what happens but does not explain it. The evidence (Bartlett and Loftus) comes from experiments with artificial tasks, may not be applicable to everyday life.
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What are the applications of reconstructive memory?
Eye witness testimony, retelling could include false details. Police questioning so as to not include leading questions, could distort memory of the event in question.
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In what year was the theory of reconstructive memory developed?

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1932

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What object did many people relate memory to?

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Card 4

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What did Bartlett think about how people remember things?

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Where does the name "Reconstructive Memory" come from?

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