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A Survey of Empirical Research on Memory Errors (Outline)

This research paper will examine the empirical researches on false memories in order to arrive at a single definition of what false memory is and to identify the process by which it occurs. This section will discuss the research question and provide a brief introduction to false memories and cognition as well as emphasize the significance of this research to the field of cognitive psychology. II. What is False Memories? This section will provide a definition of false memories from different perspectives as well as give a detailed discussion of its history, its application, and examples as well as the different methods it could be studied.

A. Origin and Development B. Real-world applications C. Methodological Approaches III. What is Flawed Memories? In this section, a discussion of memory errors and flawed memories will be presented as well as its definition, process and examples. Methodological approaches in the study of flawed memories are also included. A. Origin and Development B. Real-world applications C. Methodological Approaches IV. False or Flawed? A Comparison of Concepts This section will provide a comparison of false and flawed memories as well as identifying its similarities and differences.

IV. The Empirical Researches of False or Flawed Memories This section will present and discuss the different ways in which false memories have been studied. The classification of empirical researches will be based on the methods used to investigate false memories and to evaluate these researches in terms of the definition of false memories. In this way, the progress of the methodologies used to study false memories can be traced and identified and whether the empirical studies have really used false memories or flawed memories.

A. Survey Procedure B. A Survey of Research Paradigms a. Planting false memories in new events b. Planting false memories in observed events c. Deese, Roediger and McDermott procedure d. General recognition tasks C. Discussion D. Implications to current cognitive psychology research VI. Summary and Conclusion This section presents a summary of the key points in the research paper as well as the conclusions derived from the results of this investigation. VII. References Draft I. Introduction

The human memory is one of the most complex and intriguing function of the human mind. Cognitive psychology through the ages has tried to examine how the memory worked and the process in which it stores and retrieves information. Memory is important in all aspects, without memory, man will not be able to remember his/her life for example people who suffer from amnesia becomes a different person. On the other hand, the extreme amnesia is not a common occurrence and sometimes the lost memory returns and it makes the human memory more elusive and complex.

What is more common is how memory can be affected by the environment, by our personal biases and schema and even how the information is presented or how the memory is to be recalled. Driving in an unfamiliar territory for the second time would presume that we have committed the directions to memory but a wrong turn or missing the intersection is a normal occurrence. Memory errors abound and this have been studied by numerous researches and it is often demonstrated in our inability to remember specific information or to make up something when we forget it.

Memory errors were taken as a normal fallibility of the human mind and studies have tried to explore how to lessen memory errors, but a decade ago, the impact of false memories became apparent when reports of sexual abuse was remembered during therapy sessions and when questions regarding the accuracy of eyewitness accounts came into public awareness. This spurned a new interest in the study of memory and this concept was called false memories indicating that a memory of an event or information was reported even if it was not there.

The initial studies on false memories were concerned with how false memories were created and most of the findings reported that it was due to the suggestions and questions of the therapist or the police officer taking the statements of the client or witness. However, a cursory research of studies that investigated false memory did not share the early definition of false memory, instead some applied the term false to memory errors like substituting words, ideas or cues in the recall of information which have been identified as flawed memory.

The inconsistent treatment and definition of false memories have led to the confusion of what false memories are and what it is not. This research paper will try to arrive at a definition of false memory and differentiate it from flawed memory using the existing empirical researches as basis. The significance of this research is to be able to clearly define what false memory is and how it should be studied which would further the knowledge of false memories and cognitive psychology. Annotated Bibliography Coane, J. McBride, D. , Raulerson, B.

& Jordan, J. (2007). False memory in a short-term memory task. Experimental Psychology, 54; 1, 62-70. This research study investigated the presence of false memory in a short-term memory task, it was found that participants were more likely to recall false memories with critical cues than false memory of non-critical cues. It seemed that short-term memory tasks elicited more false alarm recognitions than false memories. Cotel, S. Gallo, D. & Seamon, J. (2007). Evidence that nonconscious processes are sufficient to produce false memories.

Consciousness and Cognition (forthcoming). This report presents the results of an experiment that measured the effect of noncosncious processes to create false memories in nonstudied events. The general perceptual tasks and recall tasks were used in this experiment wherein children had to retrieve information from the visual tasks to complete the nonstudied task. It was found that nonconscious processes was sufficient to cause an illusion of memory but did not lead to false memories. DePrince, A. P. , Allard, C.

B. , Oh, H. , & Freyd, J. J. (2004). What’s in a name for memory errors? Implications and ethical issues arising from the use of the term ‘‘false memory’’ for errors in memory for details. Ethics & Behavior, 14, 201–233. This article argues that calling memory errors or intrusion to memory recall as false memories pose grave ethical issues in the misapplication of false memories using word recall tasks to social issues such as criminal behavior. Garoff-Eaton, R. , Slotnick, S. & Schacter, D. (2006).

Not all false memories are created equal: The neural basis of false recognition. Cerebral Cortex, 11; 1645-52. False recognition or memory distortion was investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine whether it shared the same neural activity as true memory recall. It was found that recalling false memories showed neural activity only in the language region while true and related false recognition activated cortex and parietal cortex regions. Howe, M. (2007). Children’s emotional false memories.

Psychological Science, 10: 856060. This research paper investigated the influence of negative emotions on a list of words that was strongly associated with emotional responses. Recall and recognition was measured using children as participants, the study found that children were more likely to recall neutral words and to have false memories of negative emotional words. Laney, C. & Loftus, E. (2005). Traumatic memories are not necessarily accurate memories. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50; 30, 823-2828.

The authors argue that repressed traumatic events cannot be entirely accurate at all times, most of the research paradigm adopted to investigate the recall of traumatic memories are flawed and to say that every traumatic memory is true is without scientific basis. Loftus, E. & Davis, D. (2006). Recovered memories. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2; 469-498. This article present a review of researches on repressed, recovered or false memories in order to determine the evidence of the presence of these memories and how therapeutic procedures could lead to the creation of false memories.

Mazzoni, G. , & Kirsch, I. (2002). False autobiographical memories and beliefs: A preliminary metacognitive model. In T. Perfect & B. Schwartz (Eds. ), Applied Metacognition (pp. 121–145). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. This research article investigates the relationship between imagination and autobiographical memories, the findings indicate that imagination can create false memories of life events and beliefs about how that events occurred. Perez-Mata, N.

& Diges, M. (2007). False recollections and the congruence of suggested information. Memory, 1-17. This experiment tested whether the congruence of suggested information affected the recall of false memories, it was found that false suggestions that were congruent to the original information increased misinformation while incongruent suggested information whether false or true did not lead to false recollections. Wade, K. , Sharman, S. , Garry, M. Memon, A. , Mazzoni, G.

, Merckelbach, H. & Loftus, E. (2007). False claims about false memory research. Consciousness and Cognition, 1: 18-28. This article discusses the recent findings of a survey of false memory empirical papers that claim that false memory research have been misguided. The authors argue that false memory research have led to a better understanding or autobiographical memories and how future researches will continue to investigate false memories and memory errors.

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