Implanted Memories (Memory WOK) By: Keely Ash (Members: Aditya, Nina, Max)

March 6th - March 11th, 2017

Dr. Elizabeth Loftus

Elizabeht Loftus is an expert in memory and a cognitive psychologist. Loftus did extensive research on the malleability of memory. She's best known for her "lost in the mall technique." Loftus implanted memories into her participants. She would ask the parents of the participant to tell her true stories from the participants childhood. Then she would talk to the patient about their past stories. In between the true stories Loftus would slip in a fake memory. The memory was that when the participant was a young child they got lost in a shopping center. They were frightened and crying until an elderly person found them and returned them to their parents. She found that the memories were successfully implanted.

To what extent does memory yield original knowledge?

Memory is malleable and changeable, however whether memory is a primary source of information is controversial. Dr. Elizabeth Loftus is an expert on memory and cognitive psychologist based in University of California, Irvine. In the early 1970s, Dr. Loftus used her new position as an assistant professor at the University of Washington to conduct research on memory that would have ecological validity. Loftus implanted memories into her participants. She would ask the parents of the participant to tell her true stories from the participants childhood. Then she would talk to the patient about their past stories. In between the true stories Loftus would slip in a fake memory. The memory was that when the participant was a young child they got lost in a shopping center. They were frightened and crying until an elderly person found them and returned them to their parents. She found that the memories were successfully implanted. This technique was called “lost in the mall technique.” It was used to demonstrate that falsifications of memory - like this technique - can be created due to suggestions given to the participants. This displays that memory is fluctuating and flexible. Mis-remembering causes the illusion of knowledge. We usually confidently presume that our memories are precise. However, it comes as a revelation to us that that is not true. Although memory isn’t a concrete way of knowing it can give us understanding and insight on how our mind works.

Journalling (3.7-3.11.17)

March 7th, 2017

In class today we started our fourth way of knowing badge progect. My group with Nina Rao, Max Palmer, and Aditya Deshpande have chose to do memory as a way of knowing for our upcoming badge project. I was kind of surprised when I heard that we would not be doing a presentation but rather a paragraph about our way of knowing. I'm kind of excited to bring in my previous knowledge from my IB Psychology class to answer our question; To what extent does memory yield original knowledge?. We read the textbook in class. It raised some interesting points about knowledge and how memory isn't a concrete way of knowing. They talked about storage and decay of memory how recalling memory can have interference. I found flashbulb memories really interesting as well. They talked about 9/11 and how many people around the world has flashbulb memories about where they were at the time of the attacks. Morrison gave us a paragraph outline for our assignment. It had the topic sentence, evidence/example, and conclusion.

March 8th, 2017

I've decided that my question will be; to what extent does memory yeild original knowledge? For my paragraph I definitely want to integrate my previously learned knowledge on psychology and memory. I plan to use Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and her work on implanted memories to reveal how memory isn't an accurate way of knowing and isn't to be primarily used for a source of knowledge and information. I chose memory as a way of knowing for my project because it has always interested me as well as the psychology aspect of it. And how we remember things and why. Memory as a way of knowing is important for the knower to understand. The knower needs to grasp that memory can't be used as a primary source of information they need actual evidence to accompany it. Due to memory being fluid and changeable.

March 9th, 2017

Today, we took our memory way of knowing quiz. I failed the first time around which kind of sucked, I got a 4/10 and the second trial i got and 8/10. I listened to a radio lab called Adding Memory. I think it was one of my favourite out of all the elective readings I have read. It was about memory and Dr. Elizabeth Loftus talked about her experiment about the implanted memories about the children lost in the mall. I also read Nicholas Carr “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” It was about eight pages and it wasn’t as interesting as the radio lab. However it was interesting to read about the google effect. As I was uninterested in reading I found myself relating to what it was talking about; looking for convenience in reading.

March 10th, 2017

I actually kind of liked having to do the paragraph for my Memory WOK4 Badge progject. It allowed me to be independent from my group. It allowed me to research things that were actually interesting to me instead of just to the people in my group. Because I'll do anything, I'm not going to disagree with your ideas unless they're irrelevant or completely irrational. For my extension proposal I think that How We Make Memories - Crash Course Psychology #13 should be included in the badge doc. It gives the viewer and all-round good idea about how memories are made. Knowledge questions that cam up during my badge project included: to what extent do we shape memory with our own personal paradigms? Which way of knowing provides us with the most reliable memory? To what extent should memory be trusted when one studies history (i.e. primary sources)? My favourite question that was the last one. It really made me think. Even at lunch I asked my friends the question and we were discussing about it for about an hour and even up into our club time.

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