WOK Memory

Project Journal

Divya Rath

Alexandre Ait Ettajer, Alex Liu, Navi Chowla

February 13, 2017 to March 3, 2017

WOK Badge: Memory

"Why thinking that Donald Trump's a nuisance might be incorrect"

2/13/2017: We were assigned our second WOK in this class; this topic is on memory. Hopefully we will be able to investigate this topic to the best of our ability. I think that memory is a very interesting subject because I have seen that it is not always trustworthy; it’ll be “cool” to learn about the way that humans utilize memory to the best of their ability in order to gain knowledge.

2/15/2017: What is the main point about your WOK that you want to make in your Badge Project?: For this project, I want to make a point that memory has a large ability and potential to be unreliable. I want to demonstrate that although eye-witness testimony and personal anecdotes are heralded as key sources of information, they are not always reliable enough. I also want to illustrate humans have a large potential to create their own reality, and that many of them do this through the idea of what I call “selective memory” or as the TOK terms it: false memory syndrome. I believe that false memory syndrome is largely present in our daily reality/life, and by showing specific examples of daily occurrences that many people mis-interpret (such as the spelling of Chick-Fil-A”), people largely don’t pay attention and properly process the information around them. In conclusion, I want to demonstrate the fallibility of knowledge.

I took the badge quiz and made an 8/10; I missed a question regarding false memory syndrome, which is ironic because I want the focal point of the presentation to be about this very aspect.

2/17/2017: What is the main point about your WOK that you want to make in your Badge Project? What’s your plan for your project? Restate your main point.: I revisited the journal I did in the previous class, and the point I am trying to make is relatively similar to what it was two days ago. About the WOK, which is Memory, I want to try and prove that memory is fallible, and that it is not something that is entirely trustworthy. Last class, we came up with two knowledge questions which demonstrate the view I (at least) am trying present, which is "Knowing that memory is fallible and changeable, is it still a reliable way of knowing?” I am also trying to work on my planning skills in the badge, because it was definitely something I lacked in the last project we completed. So far everything is going well; we have our investigation planned and our presentation is created. Today will mainly be spent rehearsing for the project we present next class, and ironing out any kinks that may arise during our presentation. One of the things that was negative about my badge project last time was that I went over the time limit by a large margin; by careful preparation, hopefully our group can stay within the time constraints.

2/17/2017 Extension Proposal:


2/17/2017: What did you learn today about your WOK2? How prepared are you for your Badge Project? What’s left to do? Be specific.: I essentially learned a lot more regarding the fact that memory is something that is unreliable, and it is something that is able to be tampered with easily. There are many forms of bias that influence our memory, and that can affect the way we therefore remember information, perceive it, and utilize it to make other connections with other types/sources of knowledge. I also learned that memory is something that is tricky to work with. We changed our knowledge question since it wasn’t fitting our purpose of what we were trying to show. The knowledge question is now: "Can our pre-conceived beliefs contaminate our current memory?”. I feel like this question better helps us convey that memory is unreliable; it is kind of a fact that it is unreliable, but now we’re investigating as to how it becomes unreliable, which is kind of in accordance of what we wanted to convey to the audience. We are prepared for our badge project; our presentation is made, the Kahoot is working, and we’ve timed it twice to fit in the time constraints. In terms of planning I think we’re solid, but there might be some last minute pieces to fill that I’ll prepare for just in case.

In detail, our presentation consists of doing a Kahoot on the Mandela Effect with the class. The name of the theory comes from many people feeling certain they could remember Nelson Mandela dying while he was still in prison in the 1980s. Contrary to what many thought, Mandela’s actual death was on Dec. 5, 2013, despite some people claiming to remember seeing clips of his funeral on TV. These false memories have some people thinking their memory is incompetent, but some wonder if they’ve gone to a parallel universe, or if time travelers have gone to the past and slightly affected our present, or if they’re simply losing their minds. Whichever it is, what’s most interesting about the Mandela effect is that so many individuals share the same false memories, which is a factor we are trying to investigate in regards to this WOK. Then we delve into an explanation of memory and the biases which affect it, and then talk about a real life aspect: politics and how it is affected by memory. With these three aspects, we hope to emphasize the fallibility of memory.

2/22/2017: What did you learn today about your WOK2?: In short, we’re going to have to do a redo presentation. Although from our preparation I thought that our presentation was fine, it turns out that our point did not come across as clearly as I thought it would. According to Mr. Morrison, we had too many elements in our presentation and it was very spread out; our presentation was not very clear, and he did not understand the correlation we made between our knowledge question and our different ways of conveying that idea. Time-wise we were alright, which is an improvement from my previous WOK, but we had too many elements within our presentation. He suggested that we focus on just one of the two activities we had: the Mandela Effect or the political aspect of using memory. As a group, we decided to focus on the political example of Donald Trump because (again:) ) Mr. Morrison said that Alex Liu had already done a Kahoot in his previous group and that we needed to find something more innovative to do. Hopefully I’ll be able to take his suggestions and mold them into a better, cohesive presentation.

2/24/2017: We met up as a group to go over what we would change about our presentation. Mr. Morrison said it shouldn’t take us a very long time to manipulate it, since we had all the correct information, but it just wasn’t presented in an effective manner. We ended up taking out a lot of external information, such as information on every single bias we had researched because it ended up being unnecessary to what our presentation was trying to convey. We also read more into our knowledge question: Can our pre-conceived beliefs contaminate our memory?. We expanded a bit more on the idea of fake news being proliferated because that's mainly how people’s memory becomes contaminated: through news that isn’t true, which we remember and then it affects our current perceptions of the election even if the information itself is not true.

3/3/2017: We finished our redo presentation! Time-wise we were structured well, and we also had much clearer connections to our knowledge question. Although it was kind of spread out and wasn’t as connected as it could have been (we could have elaborated a bit more on the connection between the fallibility of knowledge and how it relates to the biases we experience in real life), it definitely more cohesive than the previous presentation. Also, eliminating the Kahoot took a lot of stress off of us as a group because we did not have to struggle with time, and worrying about collecting the results and what not. As a whole, I felt like we were able to convey our point regarding the fallibility of memory due to pre-instated beliefs contaminating our current thoughts to the audience in a clearer fashion, and I believe that I will use the improvements I made in the area in my other WOK presentations as well.

Knowledge Questions Encountered During Our Badge Project

To what extent do we shape memory with our own personal paradigms?

Which way of knowing provides us with the most reliable memory?

Given the easy accessibility of information, is memory important as a basis of knowledge?

Can our beliefs contaminate our memory?

Slide Show

Extra Resource We Used: TED TALK

We utilized the resource to gain more information regarding false memories. Since the entire basis of our presentation revolved around perpetuation of untrue ideas, we thought it would be interesting to investigate the topic further, through additional research. Here, we discovered more about the fallibility of memory and how it related to potentially mis-remembering things. It was a very interesting TED Talk, and possibly one we can utilize as an additional resource for our Memory WOK as well.

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