People tend to construct their own memories, rather than copying. They tend to perceive and encode an event by factors such as sight, words, tasting and hearing. Perceiving is more like creating a memory rather than remembering the actual experience and just reconstructing it. However remembering of past events might cause errors due to an individual’s assumptions and conclusions rather than traces of the actual event. Over the years, the public and psychologists have developed interest in the accuracy and distortion of memories. This essay is against the views that human memory can accurately reflect personal-level representation of past experiences. The evidence for empirical research investigating false memories is shown in Bi Zhu’s study, This study investigated that a brief exposure to misinformation would result in a long term false memory and also shown that the trace strength was similar for both actual and false memories, whereas for Roediger and McDermott’s study list that learning paradigm showed considerably high levels of false recollection and recognition.
The constructive development to memory, that manifests that memory is made by the individual primarily based upon original events additionally to individual’s own information, expertise and expectations supports the thought of false memory
The study that is conducted by Bi Zhu have shown that the subject’s memory of the original event was altered by the misinformation received and therefore creating memories that are false. The main objective of this study is to see whether false memories will be created from brief exposure of misinformation and whether it will continue to last for a long period of time (Bi Zhu., Chuansheng Chen., Elizabeth Loftus,2012). The primary independent variable (IV) of this study would be the misleading or leading information that the narrations provided. The dependent variable (DV) is the extent to which misled the participants to incorporate the misleading suggestions into their recognition tests. 342 out of the total of 437 participants, consisting of 189 males and 248 females, who were not aware of the follow up test after a year and a half participated. 95 participants out of the 437 did not participate (Bi Zhu., Chuansheng Chen., Elizabeth Loftus,2012).
In the experimental programme that Bi Zhu introduced, the participants took a standard 3-stage misinformation exposure which consists of them seeing an event, reading the narration with misinformation and after that, taking a memory test. To elaborate more on the test, the participants were shown 2 seprate(different) events, each consisting of 50 slides, and in that 50 slides, 12 critical slides were accompanied with inaccurate descriptions in the following narrations and 38 slides accompanied with accurate descriptions (Bi Zhu., Chuansheng Chen., Elizabeth Loftus,2012). During the course of the recognition tests, questions were offered in random chronologically of events portrayed within the slides. The choices were given as, “detailly depicted in the picture”, or “details presented in the narrations with misinformation” or “newly, never see before” answers by the tester that was not exposed to the participant before (Bi Zhu., Chuansheng Chen., Elizabeth Loftus,2012). A follow-up test was given to the same participants after a year and a half from the initial study. The participants will see the 2 different 50-slide events again but this time the slides will stop right before the critical slides and they will be asked to recall what happened in the critical slides based on their memory from a year and a half years ago (Bi Zhu., Chuansheng Chen., Elizabeth Loftus,2012).
The results obtained from participants from the initial experiment indicated good memory of the original event of 61%, 31% of misinformation and only 8% of newly, never see before” answers (Bi Zhu., Chuansheng Chen., Elizabeth Loftus,2012). However, the results from the test conducted a year and a half later showed that memory decay was noticeable because there is a decrease in good memory of the original event, 61% drop to 45%, followed by an increase in misinformation, 31% increase to 39%, and an increase to newly, never see before” answers, 8% increase to 17%(Bi Zhu., Chuansheng Chen., Elizabeth Loftus,2012). The experimental paradigm displayed about 50% of true memory was maintained and false memory having the same rate for the follow-up test (Bi Zhu., Chuansheng Chen., Elizabeth Loftus,2012). Based on the results, it showed that there was a notably high negative correlation between the exposure to misinformation and true memory. The increase response of false recognition for the critical slides and responses were linked with high levels of confidence or remember judgements. Although misinformation and “newly, never see before” answers are both inaccurate false memories, participants were more prone to pick misinformation than “newly, never see before” answers because the participants were exposed to misinformation before (Bi Zhu., Chuansheng Chen., Elizabeth Loftus,2012).
Another study that was conducted by Roediger and McDermott in 1995 came up with a list learning paradigm which revealedshown significant levels of false recollection and recognition. The Primary purpose of the experiment was to see if the participants can evade false memories in the false recognition paradigm. Roediger and McDermott came up with 2 types of experiments which was derived from assistance from J.Deese’s 1959 study. The independent variable (IV) would be the determinative the planning of the experiment includes “item types”, mainly study items controls and unrelated items, and between-subjects issue “group”, mainly the experimental and control group. The primary dependant variable (DV) was the probability in which a list would produce a false memory by falsely recollection of a critical word.
This experiment involved a total of 36 participants. In the first experiment the participants were asked to study a list of 12 words. Each list comprises of a non-presented word and 30 non-studied items. The non-study items was generally made up of 6 critical words, 12 words that are totally unrelated to any items in the 6 lists and 12 that are faintly related to the list (Roediger.H & Dermott. K, 1995). Through the duration of the entire recognition test, the participants were accessed on both the studied and non-studied items, that is inclusive of the critical non-presented words as well. In the second experiment, there was a total of 30 participants. The participants were given 16 lists to study. 8 lists were followed up with a recall test immediately, while the other 8 test were not and the 8 remaining test, the participants did not study before list (Roediger.H & Dermott. K, 1995).
In the first experiment conducted, the participants managed to recall 40% of the critical non-presented words from the 12-word list (Roediger.H & Dermott. K, 1995). In the second experiment that was conducted, the participants managed to recall 55% of the critical non-presented words (Roediger.H & Dermott. K, 1995). The paradigm displayed considerably high levels of false recognition for the critical items and the responses was accompanied by high confidence or remembering decisions. In the recalling session, the participant’s results displayed an increase in the accurately recognition of study items as well as false recognition of critical non-studied items.
To sum things up, in Bi Zhu’s misinformation paradigm, the participants personal memories of the original event was hindered when they took in external suggested information. The misinformation paradigm pointed out that after an event, there is a tendency of inaccurate information frequently being integrated into one’s memory of the actual event. Whereas for the study conducted by Roediger and Dermott’s experiment, it showed that the participants are dependent on internal generation of the critical decoys. This involved the task or stimulus specific false memories, which is highly dependant on the nature of the semantic networks that refers to a portion of long-term memory that processes ideas and concepts that are not obtained from the participants personal experience.
By studying Roediger and McDermott’s and Bi Zhu’s journal, several strength and limitations were shown in their study. Based on the normative association of listed words to the non-presented words in Roediger and McDermott’s study, there was a major strength that showed that a variable known is effective in the production of false memories. However, the findings are quite limited as shown in the sameness of the sample of participants, participants were either all in a scientific major only and some are from psychology courses that have scored quite similar in various cognitive styles, subjects were quite small in value for the experiments conducted. By testing with more subjects, more results can be obtained that is related to false recollection and further evidence of cognitive factors which will then contribute to the proneness of creating false memories.
There are several limitations of the misinformation paradigm that should be taken into account before a definite conclusion can be reached. Firstly, one major limitation was that the study conducted was based on single items on the questionnaire. The limitations exist because we do not know if the participant is able to remember the particular event or if he understood what the question was asking. Participants may have abit of confusion because they might have experienced the same scenario before (Roediger.H ; Dermott. K, 1995). Another limitation to the study was that there was no control group which comprises of participants whose recollection was tested without them receiving any misinformation. Despite the limitations from this study, the potency of the misinformation effect is quite big, which had caused awareness on the manipulability of memories Roediger.H ; Dermott. K, 1995).
To sum things up, it was argued that the human memory does not have the capability to accurately retrieve personal level representation of past experiences and have a tendency to create false memories. This was proven by the two journals studied. In the study of the word list, study showed that high levels of inaccurate recollection and recognition in the list learning paradigm. And for the study of the misinformation paradigm, It showed that if a person is exposed briefly to misinformation, it can result in a long term false memory as true and false memory have very similar memory strength.