Essay on The False Memory Task

Essay on The False Memory Task

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The False Memory Task begins by giving examples of how memory of events can be incorrect, although we might not be aware of it. The goal of this task is to clearly show how easy it is for our memories to have false information. We are often convinced that our memories are correct, especially when they seem to be logical and contain a lot of detail. However, errors in memory are easily made and far more frequent than the majority of people realize. This ZAPS experiment approaches false memory errors in a way where it is easy to point out, and create, false memories.
The procedure is simple. On the computer screen, twelve words are revealed one word at a time in the form of a list. After the last word, a matrix of twelve words is shown. The matrix is a table of twelve words, some of which were on the list, some of which were not. Participants in the task chose which words they believe were on the list, using free recall to select words in any order. A new list begins when participants believe they have all of the correct words from the matrix. The cycle begins again. A list of twelve words are presented, a matrix appears after the twelfth word, and participants select words according to their memory of what was on the list. There are six lists in total, with no practice trials, however there are breaks in between to express the differences in each list.
I chose this task because I was rather skeptical and unsure if the task would accomplish its goal in just fifteen minutes. Curious as to how this ZAPS would work, I approached the task with a simple theory. I was not sure how the experiment would give participants false memories, but judging by other tests I had taken on ZAPS, I was certain that it would be an uncomplicated experim...


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... connected them to my memories of the lists. The subjects of the lists transplanted themselves into my recollection of the lists, creating false memories of seeing what was not really there.
The concept of false memory is important. In everyday life, mistaking what we know can affect us, in small ways as well as large. Mistakes can be something like mixing up theories and their definitions, or confusing a friend’s birthday with someone else’s, or even misremembering tragic events like the Oklahoma City Bombing. Our memories are susceptible to inaccuracies, it is paramount that we keep this in mind in places such as the court room, or even our everyday lives. With this understanding, I now know that not everything I remember is necessarily true. But I also know that our memories are right the majority of the time, and that we should trust our knowledge of the world.

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