LAQ – Reliability of Memory
Discuss, with reference to relevant research studies, the extent to which memory is reliable.
This paper will evaluate the extent to which memory is reliable. While the human ability to have memory is an incredibly complex, yet amazing cognitive process, recent psychological research demonstrated that memory isn’t an imaginative reconstruction of past events, and is therefore not as reliable as previously thought. Memories can be influenced by other factors other than what was recorded initially due to the reconstructive nature of memory (e.g., schemas). Repression may also occur and false memories can be created, making memory even less reliable. The extent to which memory is reliable has all kinds of practical applications, ranging from eyewitness testimony and studying ancient history to taking a simple test. This paper will evaluate Loftus and Palmer’s (1974) Lab Experiment 2 and Levinger & Clark (1961) Experiment, which tested the extent to which memory is reliable. Both studies point out that memory can be manipulated and differs depending on the subject and time, making it less reliable than what an individual would initially expect.
Firstly, this paper will look into Loftus and Palmer’s (1974) Lab Experiment 2. The aim of this experiment was to see whether misleading post-event information such as the wording of leading questions could create false memories. An independent measures design was used, where 150 students were shown a clip of a car accident. Then, the participants were split into three groups of 50. The 1st group was asked, “How fast were the cars going when they hit each other?” The 2nd group was asked, “How fast were the cars going when they smashed each other?” And the 3rd group wasn’t asked to estimate the speed of the cars in the accident, as they were the controlled group. A week later, they were asked whether they saw any broken glass, despite the fact that the video didn’t include any broken...
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