Document Type

Poster Presentation


Memory construction is very complex, and numerous theoretical descriptions and explanations for it exist. The most applicable model for memory creation is that of Multhaup, De Leonardis, & Johnson (1999) as well as Hyman and Loftus (2000). Both groups of researchers contend that memories are reconstructions of events, as opposed to straight retrieval from long-term memory. Memory is largely dependent on constructive processes that are sometimes prone to errors, distortions, and illusions (Shacter, Norman, & Koutstaal, 2000). Every time we remember an event, we are reconstructing it. Furthermore, the passage of time, interference, contrary facts and information, and the change or transformation of memory traces often occur without our conscious awareness (Loftus & Ketcham, 1991). This reconstruction, unlike retrieval, leaves remembering open to numerous errors, distortions, intrusions, and illusions when remembering any event (Hyman, 1999). If the recollection of any event were pure retrieval, then we would simply recall the event exactly as we encoded it into long-term memory thus rendering long-term memory error moot but even retrieval due to a lack of retrieval focus can impair recall and create interference (Shacter et. al., 2000). The reconstruction not only incorporates the events that we remember pertaining specifically to an event, which is biased to each person's own perspective, but also new information known as intrusions, usually occurring in memories for stories (Hyman, 1999), and information stored for alternate episodes and events that we have used to fill the gaps of information that has decayed or been forgotten. Fundamentally, we never recall an exact copy of anything, which shows that false memory creation potentially is a part of everyone's everyday life, and can lead one to believe in memories of events that never actually happened (Loftus & Ketcham, 1991).

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Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference





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©2003 by the University of Northern Iowa



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University of Northern Iowa


Cedar Falls, IA