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A False Memory Report


Introduction

A false memory is a condition of giving twisted and biased information. Although a human memory is a powerful tool, it makes someone at some point to give incorrect information. This is caused by some factors like distracters.

A good example that demonstrates a false memory is position of items in a list. People are able to recall items on a list depending on their position (Brainerd & Reyna, 2002).

For instance, those items that appear last in an item are remembered the most (recency effect), those in the center are not remembered well and those that appeared first are remembered better (primary effect). This also applies to time. Recent events are recalled the best because of the recency effect.

It is therefore important to conduct some experiments to see the differences between the correct memory and the false memory. A good memory is supposed to store information like past experiences, study materials and give accurate information when needed.

However, this is not the case as memory tends to fade with time. There are factors that lead to false memory apart from time. They include misleading conceptions (distracters), great expectations, anxiety and depression.

Misleading conceptions or distracters tend to occupies someone’s memory and hence there is no room for the information that is needed (Brainerd & Reyna, 2002). This is the same with great expectations. Great expectations dominate someone’s mind and all they think is what they are expecting.

This is no difference with anxiety and depression. Someone is always anxious about something and this causes false memory. When someone is depressed, he/she becomes withdrawn and do not want to think.

There are other factors that contribute to false memory. When someone is given incorrect information, misinterpreting the original information and being emotionally attached to something.

When someone is given incorrect information, he/she perceives it’s the correct information and stores it in the memory. This is the same for misinterpreting original information.

This report discusses in general experiments that were done on a different category of people. There is data that was collected of an individual, a group of people and global. This was done to determine if people exhibited the condition of a false memory (Pannu & Kaszniak, 2005).

In an individual experiment, a woman was given some items to recall. She was supposed to present her information according to their position. After doing the experiment, those items that appeared last were presented correctly. She did not remember well those items that were in the center. Those that appeared first, she remembered well.

Data was then collected for a group of people. Some volunteers were given words which they were shown for a short period like two seconds for every word. They were then given response answers with distracters to identify original words. There were independent variables and dependent variables. These will be explained later in the methodology section. This is the same for global.

People at one time suffer from a false memory. As mentioned earlier, this is brought about by some factors that make one to forget the information that is needed. One factor is time. Past experiences that happened long ago are quickly forgotten. Anxiety, depressions and great expectations are some of the factors that cause false memory.

A good memory is thus needed to solve problems, to make decisions, to discern and to contemplate (Roediger & McDermott, 1995). There are so many instances that rely on memory like getting good reliable witnesses in a court.

Students rely heavily on memory when doing exams so as to recall what they have been learning. Students are required to be free of any distracters like anxiety, depression etc. that can make them not to give the information required.

Methodology

An experiment was carried out for an individual and data was collected. The experiment had items that followed a particular order. The individual was supposed to read and write them later according to their position. This was tested on a woman who was given some items to recall.

She was supposed to present her information according to the position of the items. The list had ten items. The items were presented one by one for a second each. After she finished reading the list, she was then told to match the items according to the order that they followed.

After doing the experiment, those items that appeared last were presented correctly. She did not remember well the items that were in the center. Those that appeared first, she remembered well. She had high percentages for the first and last items and low percentages for those items that appeared in the center.

Data Summary

Position for the 10 Items Percentages of the Findings
First 75
Middle 50
Last 90

An experiment was carried out for a group of people. Some volunteers were given words which they were shown for a short period like two seconds for every word. They were then given response answers with distracters to identify the words that were originally included.

Distracters were words that were meant to confuse them; they were not the original words. There were also special distracters; words that resembled the original words.

There were independent variables and independent variables. The distracters and words to be identified were the variables that were independent. The percentages reported were the variables that were dependent (Tan & Ward, 2000).

Data Summary for the Group

Selected Items Percentage of the findings
From the original list 75
Normal distracters 5
Special distracters 65

Global experiment was done through the primary method of observation. People around the globe expect someone to give 100% correct information which is not the case. They don’t expect that people will give normal or special distracters in their answers. The findings of the global experiment resemble that of the group experiment.

Results

Data was collected for the individual. When the female finished the experiment, those items that appeared last were presented correctly. She did not remember well the items that were in the center. Those that appeared first, she remembered well.

She had high percentages for the first and last items and low percentages for those items that appeared in the center. 75% was reported for the items in the first position, 50% for the items in the center and 90% for the items that appeared last. Recalling of items depended on their position.

In the group experiment, the volunteers included the special and normal destructors in their answers. This was as a result of false memory. They gave answers that were not supposed to be given. They were under the influence of distracters. This is caused by thinking of the special distracters which are related to the words required.

When answering questions, the group of people thought that they were giving the correct answers when they were including special distracters in their answers (Tan & Ward, 2000).

From the original list, the percentage of the findings was 75%. This is a high percentage. The percentage of the normal distracters was 5% and the percentage of the special distracters was 65%.

Global data was collected through observation. People around the globe want others to deliver 100% correct information which is not possible. They discourage people to give normal or special distracters in their answers. This cannot be the case because at one time, the condition of false memory does occur.

Discussion

As seen in the tables, there is occurrence of false memory for both the individual and group experiment. In the individual experiment, the woman was able to remember items according to their position. For instance, those items that appeared last in an item she remembered the most (Tan & Ward, 2000).

This is termed as the recency effect, those that appeared in the center she did not remember well and those that appeared first she remembered well (primary effect).

This also applies to time. Recent events are recalled the best because of the recency effect. She had high percentages for the first and last items and low percentages for those items that appeared in the center.

For the group experiment, there was a high percentage of recalling the original words. There were those people in the group who were not largely influenced by the presence of normal and special distracters. This showed that they had a good memory.

There is a record of a high percentage of special distracters because they resembled the original words. When the group of people wrote the distracters as answers, they thought that they were giving the correct answers because the special distracters resembled the original words.

The global experiment resembles that of a group experiment. People experience false memory because of various factors like distracters. Normal and special distracters distort information that is supposed to be given (Tan & Ward, 2000). Although people around the globe expect someone to give 100% correct information, this is not the case.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a human memory experiences the condition of false memory when there are factors like distracters.

This can be seen when people conduct some experiments to see the differences between the correct memory and the false memory. A good memory is supposed to store information like past experiences, study materials and give accurate information when needed. However, this is not the case as memory tends to fade with time.

There are factors that lead to false memory apart from time. Anxiety, depressions and great expectations are some of the factors that cause false memory.

Misleading conceptions or distracters tend to occupy someone’s memory and hence there is no room for the information that is needed. This is the same with great expectations.

The findings for the three sets of data almost resemble. All the people around the world experience false memory at one point of life except those who have good memory. People around the globe expect someone to give 100% correct information which is not the case. They don’t know that people can include normal or special distracters in their answers. This cannot be possible.

References

Brainerd, C. J., & Reyna, V. F. (2002). Fuzzy-Trace Theory and False Memory. American Psychological Society, 11(5), 164- 169.

Pannu, J. K., & Kaszniak, A. W. (2005). Metamemory experiments in neurological populations: A review. Neuropsychology Review, 15(2), 105-130.

Roediger, H. L., & McDermott, K. B. (1995). Creating false memories: Remembering words not presented in lists. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory & Cognition, 21(3), 803–814.

Tan, L., & Ward, 0. (2000). A recency-based account of the primacy effect in free recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26(2), 1589-1625.

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 30). A False Memory. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-false-memory/

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"A False Memory." IvyPanda, 30 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/a-false-memory/.

1. IvyPanda. "A False Memory." December 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-false-memory/.


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IvyPanda. "A False Memory." December 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-false-memory/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "A False Memory." December 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-false-memory/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'A False Memory'. 30 December.

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