The Human Memory Process

2016 Words 8 Pages
Humans process all information through a general, three-step process: encoding, storing, and retrieval (Weseley & McEntarffer, 2007). There are various models that provide an explanation of how the human memory works, such as the three box model and the levels of processing model (Weseley & McEntarffer, 2007). According to the three box model, also known as the information-processing model developed by Atkinson and Shiffrin in 1968, newly perceived information is encoded through a set of stores: the sensory memory, the short-term memory, and the long-term memory (McLeod, 2007). The levels of processing model attributes that humans are more likely to remember information based on how shallowly or deeply the memories were processed (Weseley & …show more content…
This information is subsequently integrated (consolidated) with other information that has already been stored in a person 's long-term, autobiographical memory. What gets retrieved later from that memory is determined by that same multitude of factors that contributed to encoding as well as what drives the recollection of the event. Specifically, what gets retold about an experience depends on whom one is talking to and what the purpose is of remembering that particular event” (Howe & Knott, 2015, p. 633-656).
These are only a few of many external factors that affect our memories reliability. Constructed memories are disorganized and contain errors because the reconstructive process inadvertently uses past experiences to bridge in the gaps in our memories in order to create a coherent recollection (Mastin, 2010). Reconstructive errors could occur during encoding, storage, or retrieval (Roediger & DeSoto, 2015). The bottom line is: “If perceiving is a construction, then remembering the original experience involves a reconstruction” (Roediger & DeSoto, 2015, p.
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The results of her studies demonstrated that suggestive questioning can impair memory and that a person might recall an event differently after being asked suggestive or leading questions (Loftus, 1997). Surprisingly, Loftus revealed that one of her experiments had the power to make people believe entire events after suggestive questioning and statements; thus, proving the existence of false memories (Loftus, 1996). Suggestion plays a massive role in the formation of false memories. Typically, incidents that are brought to courtrooms are traumatic for the victim, such as murders, rapes, or other illegal acts of violence. The repercussions of the amount of times a story is rehearsed and retold after such an event often goes unrecognized. The story is often repeated to police, friends, lawyers, therapists, doctors, and others involved (Ehlers & Clark, 2000 as cited in Strange & Takarangi, 2015). Each time the story is repeated and rehearsed, it is more susceptible to alteration due to characteristics of reconstructed memory (Strange & Takarangi, 2015). Additionally, the more people that are exposed to an incident, the more of chance exist that a person could be exposed to misleading information. According to Krieger, the misinformation effect is, “A memory distortion phenomenon in which a person’s existing memories can be altered if a person is exposed to misleading information”

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