The Security of Our Memory

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Memory seems to be less secure and reliable than is popularly thought. Bartlett and other social scientists have tested the security of our memory and have accumulated significant results showing the limitations of our memory and the extent to which our abilities of recall often play us up. Bartlett, for instance, discovered that people formed memories in line with their cultural indoctrination and schemas. Following Bartlett's publicized results, researchers have been interested in finding determinants and characteristics of false recall (i.e. reasons for construction of faulty memories). Some researchers posited that backwards associations prompted this false recall, whilst others suggested that it was the lapse of time subsequent to the event that caused these illusionary memories. Either way, the objective of McDermott (1996) was to examine the constructive processes that constituted recall and more specifically to discover how and why false memories were created and, more particularly, whether false memories were generated due to repetitious recollection of event and/ or causation of delay. McDermott (1996), therefore, conducted two experiments to investigate these possibilities. The first introduced a 2-day time delay between the times when subjects were presented with a short list of related words (e.g. thread, pin, eye, sewing) all of which corresponded to non-presented words (such as needle). The aim was to see whether the aspect of delay in comparison to a

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