Cognitive Psychology False Memory Essay

2269 Words Apr 8th, 2013 10 Pages
Running head: False Memory






Theoretical and Applied/Practical Perspective of False Memory
The human memory is subject to a multitude of errors, including source misattributions, distortion and creation of false memories. In order to do justice to this paper one must first determine what is “False memory”? False memory is memory for an event that did not occur or distorted memory of actual events (Gleaves, Smith, Butler, & Spiegel, 2004). This type of memory has been an area of intense research interest for both theoretical and practical reasons and psychologists have long been interested in memory illusions and distortions, as such errors can inform theories of how the memory works (Hunt & Ellis, 2004).
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When this phenomenon occurs an individual may confuse the gist trace strength with the psychological experience of recollecting, which is normally mediated by retrieving verbatim traces of studied items. As lure items tend to match very strong gist traces in memory individuals believe they can recollect DRM lures. According to Arndt, (2010), “this theory proposes that although these errors are often phenomenologically similar to items that were episodically experienced, lures’ recollection phenomenology is representationally distinct from that of study items” (p.67).
There is evidence however that false memory can be based largely on automatic processing and is amenable to only limited conscious control. For example, Dodd and MacLeod (2004), showed that mere exposure to DRM lists was sufficient to create a false memory: They
presented DRM lists as coloured words in a Stroop test. Naming colours reduced accurate memory for list words as compared to reading coloured words, but false memory remained high for critical words. Furthermore, the elimination of false memory is difficult in that certain “encoding manipulations may lead to reductions in false memories through metamemorial processes occurring at retrieval” (Gallo, McDermott, Percer & Roediger III, 2001, p.339). For example slowing presentation rate decreases the probability of false…

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