gunda007: October 2011 Archives

When you can remember a lot of detail from a certain moment or incident which occurred in the past, then one tends to assume that the memory is accurate. There are many possible trains of thought which might lead to this assumption. It is possible that one thinks "I remember this happening so clearly, therefore it must have happened exactly as I see it in my mind." It has been assumed that flashbulb memories stay the same over time; that these memories cannot be falsified.
However, researchers have proved that these assumptions are false by studying the details which people recall regarding an incident very soon after it occurred, and then after a considerable amount of time has passed. Our textbook provides several examples of such studies. Here is an article about a study conducted on students from Duke University after the terrorist attacks during 9/11; this study was conducted to determine the accuracy of these memories.
Another much debated issue surrounding flashbulb memories is the claim that flashbulb memories are not a different kind of memories. We cannot argue that a memory is accurate by virtue of the fact that it is a flashbulb memory. It seems more likely that flashbulb memories are different from others only in the vividness and intensity of the memory- accuracy is not affected in the least by whether a memory is a flashbulb memory or not. Here is an article that further expounds this hypothesis.

One of the popular myths associated with the technique of hypnosis is that it can help to enhance people's memory. It has been said that under the influence of hypnosis people have been known to remember things that they did not know when they were in a normal state. More information can be found on this topic here.
This belief has only been helped by presentation of such cases by the media. Such instances have also been described in the fiction novels which so many of us like to read. Our textbook provides a brief review of instances in which hypnosis helped victims of crime remember information which helped the police catch criminals, though of course sometimes the information was completely inaccurate and did not help at all.
Hypnosis definitely helps people remember more information than normal but not all that they remember is guaranteed to be accurate. A large part of the U.S. legal system bans evidence based on memories recalled through hypnosis.
This myth is closely linked to another that is related to hypnosis, that the phenomena experienced during hypnosis are unique to it. It is not only hypnosis which helps people remember- in several situations, people find themselves remembering the answer to some question when they think about it a second time and this happens even when they are not under the influence of hypnosis.
Keeping all of the above in mind, several questions arise. Can information recalled under hypnosis be relied on? Is it an approach worth using when investigating a crime? Or is it a dubious way to gain information?

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by gunda007 in October 2011.

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