Essay On Reliability Of Memory

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Memory is the cognitive process of encoding, storing and retrieving information (Melton 1963) and is also involved in processing vast amounts of information (McLeod, S. A. 2007). Memories could be reliable, as some people are able to hold very vivid details of events in their activated schema. However, the retrieval of memory could be subjected to the change over time through reconstruction and therefore questions the reliability and accuracy of the information recalled. The reliability of memory could be demonstrated by outlining how the encoding and retrieval of memory could be susceptible to reconstruction. Reconstruction of memory refers to the process of assembling information based on stored knowledge in the absence of a specific event. The reliability of memory is supported by the Flashbulb theory. Flashbulb memories are vivid, long-lasting memories for events that remembered in great detail. Brown and Kulik (1977) suggested that flashbulb memories are caused by a neural mechanism triggered by a surprising, emotional and highly important event. Flashbulb memories are also believed…show more content…
Bartlett’s theory of reconstructive memory suggests that recall of information is subject to the personal interpretation which is dependent on one’s cultural norms and values. Bartlett’s theory therefore shows that memory is not necessarily reliable as information could not be retrieved the same way it was encoded. In other words, schemas enable us to store the central meaning or gist of new information without necessarily remembering the precise details (Hill, G. 2001). Bartlett (1932) also suggested that memories are influenced by schemas as people organize and store information in a way that makes sense to them. Therefore, schemas are able to distort unfamiliar information in order to fit it to with the existing knowledge and expectations hence, resulting in unreliable
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