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Memory Is A Reconstruction Myth Or True?

1315 words - 6 pages

Definition of memory and it's functions is difficult to illustrate by a single sentence. Consequently we use several metaphors to describe memory implicitly. Our beliefs, perceptions and imagination influence memory. The fact gave rise to memory being described as a reconstructive process, explaining that memory is not an exact record of a particular experience. Instead we bring various components together and fill in the blanks with our predisposed schemas while recalling. The metaphor building "an entire dinosaur skeleton from fossils" is the indirect way to describe memory as cognitive reconstruction. Remembering includes using schemas which are the mental representations of a concept, person or an event.They rejuvenate an incomplete memory such that it is perceived to be an undiminished one. Of course there are errors experienced when recalling which supports the idea of imperfect memory. These can be errors of commission, adding details which were not a part of the experience and errors of omission, which is excluding some aspects of the experience. In this paper I will support the selected metaphor and will provide evidence approving it.

In contrast to the concept of reconstruction, there is an argument that crucial experiences are vividly remembered (Buchsbaum et al.2012). To find evidence in support for this idea Buchsbaum and colleagues conducted an experiment to see neural activation patterns across the brain in both scenarios. That is while watching the video and mental replaying of it.The experiment was designed in such a way that first, participants were made to watch video clips and then over a period of 2 to 3 months, they were trained to rehearse memory we call mental replay. During the process participants were also asked to associate cues to the videos. Later fMRI scanning was done in trials where participants closed their eyes and, with the clue aid replayed the memory and rated the clarity from 1 to 4. They captured the results along a continuum with one end "shared memory hypothesis" meaning there is similarity in activation patterns and on the other end "separate memory hypothesis" meaning there is disparity in neural activation in the two scenarios. The


results confirm there is an overlap in neurological activity while watching videos and mental replay thus time travel is experienced (Buchsbaum et al.2012). The authors demonstrated that shared memory hypothesis is legitimate, specially in motor and sensory affiliated areas of the cerebral cortex. According to this study memory is not like building a dinosaur from fossils. Instead it is like travelling back in time and seeing the dinosaur to derive information from.

There is ample evidence in support of reconstructive nature of memory. It is believed that reconstructive process involves bringing together various components of memory...

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