One of the best known psychologists of the 20th century was Jean Piaget. The memory he described was from when he was about 2 years old, a kidnapping attempt in which his nurse tried to protect him. According to the storehouse metaphor, memory is kind of a warehouse. When one remembers an event from one’s life, one looks through this warehouse. Remembering a past event is also a kind of simulation, a simulation of what happened in the past, rather than a veridical reproduction of the past. In fact, our best understanding is that brains are massively parallel simulation devices. Constructive theories deal with filling in gaps at encoding as the event transpires, whereas reconstructive theories deal with filling in gaps at retrieval as one tries to remember the event. When thinking about memory illusions it is important to make a similar distinction.
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Contemporary research has found that memory is much more than the process for recalling information that has been learned and retained. Memory is central to all human endeavors. Memory is the sine qua non of human psychology. How humans process, store, retrieve, and use memory is intrinsically interesting. This book is about human memory: how it works, how it sometimes does not work, why it is important, and why it is interesting. It describes the major structural and functional theories that guide our understanding of memory. The modal model has three memory buffers: sensory information store, short-term memory and long-term memory. The book focuses on everyday functions of memory, including memorizing things, remembering to do things (prospective memory), and recalling how to do things, such as skills, procedures, and navigation. Disorders of memory including Alzheimer’s and amnesia are examined along with exceptional memory skills, such as the phenomenon of individuals with highly superior autobiographical memory. The book also addresses the intriguing and controversial topics of repressed and recovered memories, the validity of memory in courtroom testimony, and the effects of remembering traumatic events.
This chapter focuses on one particular type of eyewitness memory the memory of an eyewitness for the face of the perpetrator. Eyewitness identifications are crucial evidence in upward of 80,000 criminal cases per year. Accurate eyewitness memory can help police catch criminals and can help prosecutors bring solid cases against those criminals. The person accused of a crime also deserves to have justice done to not be falsely accused or wrongfully imprisoned. To understand eyewitness memory, one has to understand perceptual psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, motivation, emotion, reasoning, personality just about every kind of psychology we can imagine. Mistaken identifications are a memory problem. They involve a person retrieving details from memory but being mistaken in the recollection of those details. The good news is that cognitive and social psychologists have been hard at work in developing science-based approaches that can reduce the problem.Source: