Learning & Memory the Accuracy of Memory Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Learning & Memory

The Accuracy of Memory

The research I completed for this assignment was fairly straightforward. Upstairs in my living room on a day in which I had yet to leave the house, I tried to imagine my front door. I did so without having looked at it for at least 14 hours -- since I had arrived at home the evening before. Once I was able to visualize the door, I then wrote down all of the details that I could conceive of related to its physical appearance. My annotations on this subject included the fact that the door is white and is at the base of approximately 20 steps which lead to the main unit of the domicile. In this tall foyer, the white of the door stands out against the creme color of the walls around it (I was able to see this same color on the walls of my living room in which I jotted down these notes). I also remembered that there is a circular window near the upper middle portion of the door that has a couple of copper looking bars intersecting it. I wrote down that the door knob is on the right side of the door, and that there is a doormat (which I wrote down was black) in front of it. I noted that there are various impressions and designs on the door, both beneath and above the window. That was all I was able to write about it.

My next step was to go downstairs and analyze the accuracy of my description. Everything that I described was correct; nonetheless there were many different details which I had forgotten about and not included. I neglected to recollect the two locks on the door, the lower one in which my keys perpetually hang out of and a top lock which I never use. To the right of the door the chain for this lock was dangling. I also forgot about my eminent "No Soliciting" sign in the middle of the window of the door. In the upper right hand corner hang the uncovered mechanisms for the doorbell. The final part of the experiment involved me thinking about mathematics, an abstract concept. Again I recorded what images came to mind. I imagined pencils and thought about school. I also thought about certain numbers such as 85, 10 and 5.


There was a substantial difference in the reactions and findings of the third step in the experiment and those of the first two. One of the most significant of the results is that my degree of confidence in recollecting key images and aspects of each of these two things -- my front door and mathematics -- was equally high. I was as convinced that I could remember every aspect of my front door as I was that I knew exactly what mathematics was. However, there was a clear distinction in my ability to accurately remember these things. As previously mentioned, I forgot several aspects of the front door which I failed to write down. That same failure was not present in my description of mathematics. I remembered virtually all of the basic, fundamentals that have to define math, especially for someone like me who has not focused on the subject since taking "Games of Chance" as an undergraduate. My association with math and school, pencils, and numbers was also accurate. There were certain operations in math which I did not recall -- such as specifics related to Geometry and measuring angles, for example -- and many which I probably was never aware of. Yet my certitude in remembering what math was, an abstract concept that I could see in my mind and write about in a measure of completion which I failed to do in my recollecting the front door, contained a lot more veracity than my writings about the front door -- which inadvertently admitted a copious amount of detail.

Relationship of Findings to the Readings

My experiment offered concrete, empirical evidence that the memory is flawed. This concept is explored within the article by Dehon et al. (2010) in which false memory is attributed to two factors: memory distortion and forgetting (p. 627). The extent to which false memory can take place is fairly expansive and alludes to the capacity of the…

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