Reconstructive Memory Essay

1560 Words 7 Pages
When one thinks of memory, they usually think of past events that happened or something that they had learned. Although one can recall certain memories, can they recall every single detail? This semester, we were asked to recall the events of a day that happened six weeks prior to the beginning of class. While some students could explain some details of what they had done that day, not all could be certain. Details may not seem to be that important when telling a story from a childhood experience or maybe the retelling of a joke, but what if a person was made to recall a memory that took place six weeks ago? This may not seem crucial, however, what if this inability to recall what happened that day could possibly ruin someone’s life? This appears …show more content…
Most people believe that we store information just as it was revealed to us. Much of one’s memory depends on how the subject interprets the world and can be affected by our values and by cultural norms (McLeod). By realizing this, we can never fully recall every single detail as it was presented, only by how we relate to the information, this is known as schemas. Schemas are defined as “mental ‘units’ of knowledge that correspond to frequently encountered people, objects or situations” (McLeod). In a way, we can manipulate our own memories to help us better understand the context. I believe this is what happened with the Cathy interview. The day of Lee’s murder, Cathy remembers Wilds and Syed showing up at her apartment stoned. Cathy was a friend of Wilds’ but did not know Syed. She claimed that Syed’s behavior was odd whether she knew him or not (Ep6, 18:50). At the time of this interview, over 15 years had passed and Syed had been tried, convicted and sentenced. By knowing this information, it could be argued that Cathy’s recollection may have been reconstructed to believe that Syed’s behavior was stranger than any other person that was high on marijuana at Cathy’s apartment. Another example of reconstructive memory could be that on the day that Lee went missing, Syed’s friend, Nisha, claimed that Wilds had invited Syed to the video store that Wilds was working at. Syed had told Nisha that Wilds wanted to say “Hi” to her on the phone (Ep6, 28:33). Nisha must have been recalling a separate event because, at the time of Lee’s disappearance, Wilds had not been hired to work at that video store until the end of January and Lee had went missing earlier that month. Nisha could be confusing two different conversations that she had with Syed and Wilds or she remembered that Wilds worked there and assumed that was the reason that Syed was hanging out with

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