Reconstructive Memory Bartlett, 1932

Reconstructive Memory Bartlett, 1932
Problems
Bartlett's experiments to test his theory
lacked controls and standardised
procedures.
His findings were qualitative as the
nature of the information was
descriptive.
Over stated how flawed our memory is
Experiments were designed to
trip up participants memories
Some distortions may have resulted from
conscious guessing rather than gaps in the
memory.
Application
Understanding that memory
can be inaccurate and flawed
Highlighted issues with the
reliability of eyewitness
testimony
Information
Use existing knowledge
(schemas) to understand new
information
We reconstruct events
according to our previous
schemas
The War of the Ghosts story
was used to test Bartlett's
theory
Research
Allport & Postman
People reconstructed a story about a white
man threatening a black man to the other way
around
Fitted stereotypical schema of
black people in 1940's
Bower et al
When people read about characters in a
restaurant, they later recalled information that
had not been in the passage.
They were reconstructing the
passage based on previous
schemas
Theories
Additional store added to
model by Tulving, 1985
Procedural memory for skills we
learn (riding a bike)
Issues
Reductionist
Tulving proposes an additional store later
Ethics
Lack of confidentiality in case studies
HM/Clive Wearing
May not be generalisable
Use of case studies of impaired brains
Ethnocentric
Majority of research occurred in the West
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