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Malleable Memory. References Are Included In Apa Format.

2579 words - 10 pages

The study of memory dates back as far as the time of Ancient Greece, however, the birth of the study of memory is often credited to Ebbinghaus, who concentrated his research on memory store and capacity. The study of memory has had a long history, and still there are many myths associated with memory processes and the overall potential of memory. This paper will address one of the misconceptions which assumes that memory is a continuous tape of personal history. It will be shown that this is merely a false belief and that the act of remembering is not as simply as replaying a tape, rather memory is malleable and may be altered by a number of occurrences (Offer, 2000).To effectively study memory it is first necessary to categorize different types of memory. There are dozens of ways to divide the specific different types of memory. These smaller categories all have very different characteristics and the acknowledgement of different types of memory makes the broad topic more manageable. First, there may be a distinction made between long term memory, short memory, and working memory. Within the long term memory, there are two main divisions; semantic and episodic memory. Semantic memories contain knowledge regarding the meanings of words, symbols, and algorithms. Episodic memories, on the other hand, include information of a personal nature. These memories capture the temporal and spatial context of a person's past experiences and encode it in a narrative way. Because they are encoded as a narrative, an individual can recall the memories and essentially be telling a story (Lachman, Lachman, & Butterfield, 1979).Autobiographical memories (episodic memories) are also referred to as personal event memories. These memories have several prominent characteristics: First, each memory corresponds to a specific moment or event, rather than a general event or series of events. Secondly, each memory contains many details of the personal circumstances associated with the memory. Finally, each is filled with sensory information that promotes a sense of reexperiencing the event (Pillemer, 1998). These memories contain information regarding place, actions, persons, objects, thoughts, and feelings (Barnier & McConkey, 1999).The core features of autobiographical memories are based on three basic features of the memory system. First, it is constructive and reconstructive nature; secondly, it has an intimate relationship with the construction of self-identity; and finally, it has shifting accessibility.The reconstructive and constructive nature of personal event memories can be seen in the evidence which shows that we gather information for these memories from many different sources. The first and primary source is typically the occurrence of the event. The event, in its self, provides a vast amount of information to be encoded. Following the experienced event however, the memory can be altered by many intruding sources. The memory will eventually reflect a...

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