Essay on Memory Is a Reconstruction: Myth or Truth?

Essay on Memory Is a Reconstruction: Myth or Truth?

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Definition of memory and it's functions is difficult to illustrate by a single sentence. Consequently we use several metaphors to describe memory implicitly. Our beliefs, perceptions and imagination influence memory. The fact gave rise to memory being described as a reconstructive process, explaining that memory is not an exact record of a particular experience. Instead we bring various components together and fill in the blanks with our predisposed schemas while recalling. The metaphor building "an entire dinosaur skeleton from fossils" is the indirect way to describe memory as cognitive reconstruction. Remembering includes using schemas which are the mental representations of a concept, person or an event.They rejuvenate an incomplete memory such that it is perceived to be an undiminished one. Of course there are errors experienced when recalling which supports the idea of imperfect memory. These can be errors of commission, adding details which were not a part of the experience and errors of omission, which is excluding some aspects of the experience. In this paper I will support the selected metaphor and will provide evidence approving it.

In contrast to the concept of reconstruction, there is an argument that crucial experiences are vividly remembered (Buchsbaum et al.2012). To find evidence in support for this idea Buchsbaum and colleagues conducted an experiment to see neural activation patterns across the brain in both scenarios. That is while watching the video and mental replaying of it.The experiment was designed in such a way that first, participants were made to watch video clips and then over a period of 2 to 3 months, they were trained to rehearse memory we call mental replay. During the process particip...


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...to see when this reconstruction mainly happens. Does it happen while encoding or retrieval. This would help us in understanding the reconstructive aspect of memory further. Thereupon conscious efforts could be taken to reduce false memories in individuals suffering from psychological disorders. As some disorders are usually a result of misinterpretation of events in life due to perverted inner beliefs or fears, this can be an appropriate intervention . Classically, it is true for adult reconstruction of childhood abuse and trauma which is widely studied. The research shows that these sort of memories are often distorted and self created, with no relevance to reality. Hence, it is of great value to study these false or partially false memories, as they can lead to severe psychiatric conditions such as depression and multiple personality disorder (Frankel et.al 1993).

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