A Reflection On Memory Malleability

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Ariel Susanto
Professor Ilona Pitkanen
Psychology 203
12 March 2017
Memory Malleability Think back to an intense moment in your life. Maybe it’s a memory of the time you thought you were going to die in a car crash. Maybe the excitement of a high school prom night. Or maybe the time your older sister got married in a beautiful ceremony. To most people, those memories are striking. The details remain clear in their minds. You’ll remember how nervous you felt at the prospect of a toast, the feel of the uncomfortable formal shoes and attire, the aroma of roses in the bouquet. Months and even years later, you recount the day minute by minute, bringing up conversations and events that happened with certainty.
These clear remembrances are …show more content…

One key aspect to FBM is the confidence attributed by the people with these memories. Although the recollection is vivid and appears to be a clear picture, the accuracy is surprisingly off. Studies show that over time, people’s confidence in FBM increases while the accuracy decreases. In the case of the 9/11 attacks, when people were surveyed about what they remembered “within ten days, there were significant inconsistencies. A year after the event, only about 2/3 of what people remembered was accurate” (Krauss, 2015). If people were interviewed a few days after the event happened, their story would change when asked again the following year, and yet again if questioned further. An interesting find is that when an incorrect detail is suggested or mentioned in the retelling of the event, that aspect would be most likely repeated in the next recount. Confidence correlates negatively with accuracy, although if it’s an actual flashbulb memory, the inaccuracies don’t tend to fall below a sixty percent rate (Krauss, 2015).
There are multiple reasons as to why accuracy decreases over time. The simplest explanation is the concept of working memory. As time passes, the details become less clear. There has been much debate over the question of whether flashbulb memories are a phenomenon that actually occurs, or if the memory is only highlighted with emotional trauma. People are

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