Ronald Cotton Perception

1685 Words 7 Pages
Imagine driving down the road and what seems to be coming towards you is a giant black puddle. The puddle keeps transforming in to different shapes as the sun reflects different levels of brightness on the road. You look around and see that it is not raining and you wonder why you would be seeing a puddle. As your car gets even nearer to the puddle suddenly the puddle disappears and all you see is the hot black pavement. This is when you realize that you were not seeing a puddle at all but rather you were seeing hot spots in the middle of the road. This makes more sense because it hasn’t appeared to be raining and the weather is near one hundred degrees.
This is called perception, an experience resulting from stimulation of the
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Unfortunately, this happened to a man named Ronald Cotton. An eyewitness testimony became the main cause of error when Jennifer Thompson was absolutely positive she could identify the right criminal. As a result, a nice young man in his twenties spent many undeserved years paying for another’s crime. Our memory is subject to error and incorrect recordings of events in our life. They say that eyewitness testimonies are more flawed when they have to identify someone different from their own race. This was the case with Ronald Cotton, he was African American and Jennifer was Caucasian. Overtime memories can fade or become mixed up with new information and ultimately come with consequences such as the case with Ronald Cotton. Some examples of memory errors are source monitoring, misinformation effect, and retroactive …show more content…
Our expectations, experiences, and current knowledge all affect how memories are created. Many people do not realize how flawed our memory can be. The largest component of our memory is called autobiographical memory, it is a collection of memories that can describe our past. Autobiographical memory includes both episodic and semantic memory. For example, we can remember hiking in the Smokey mountains, seeing all the trees and remembering some of the conversations we had with friends (episodic memory) ; It might also include how you traveled to the Smokey mountains (by plane or car) or a list of your hiking gear and the time of day you hiked (semantic memory). Our memories are the most accurate and vivid when remembering major milestones or events that contained a lot of emotions. One hypothesis supporting this idea is the self-image hypothesis proposed by Clare Rathbone. This means our memory is enhanced from recalling events that helped form a person’s identity or self-image. (p.210) When you talk to an older retired person, they often talk about their past life such as, I was a psychologist, I spoke at my daughter’s wedding, I conducted research at Indiana University and so forth. Most of their memories are likely to be recalled best during their younger years, this is

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