Midterm Project: Memory

Fatima bah

Angel Dominguez

Group #7

Article #1


The Memory Illusion by Julia Shaw

Memory is the ability of the mind to store and recall past sensations, thoughts,knowledge, and other valuable things. In the short passage the memory illusion the author Julia Shaw haves us questioning if our memory is really real. She believes that our memory can play tricks on us and we may not be who we think we are, which is really  interesting but also creepy. As stated in the article, Memory Illusion by Julia shaw, “We can come to remember seeing and doing things that never happened, and the sneaky part is that in our minds these errors look and feel just like our other memories. These kinds of memory errors are called “false memories,” and they are the subject of considerable study around the world”. This means that the more you try to remember a certain memory, every time you try to remember what it is exactly that happened, little things are switched up and this is due to the memory distortion as explained in the quote above.  We become increasingly confident in our ability to recollect that certain memory, because we’ve done it hundreds of times before so we can’t possibly be wrong, right? Everybody remember things differently about certain situations that happened,  as such we as humans are prone to having our memories hijacked. There is a show called Brain games, there was an experiment where a woman was put into a jury case and said things that weren’t true about the thief and everybody believed her and took her word for it. Had this been an actual case, the wrong person would have been sent to jail, little things that can be changed up like the color from the coat from red to black, the skin color from light to dark, we all remember things differently and that is memory hijacking.

It’s crazy to think that you can say your name to a dozen people but you’ll only remember the names of the people that caught your eye.  I went through this and I can verify that this is true because, aside from any experiments that they conducted, I have a better track record of remembering the names of the girls who I found to be most pretty or the guys who were funny or interesting. Brains are a funny thing because we remember important details, and toss aside those details that we perceive as meaningless,or in other cases, boring. Memories are easily susceptible to distortion, as stated later on in the article, Julia Shaw conducted an experiment where she created false memories and made about 70% of the people ended up thinking that they committed an actual crime. She also found that, and this really interests me, those that created a false memory even went on to describe smells, things they saw, felt as well as tasted when trying to remembering that particular moment. Of course, this isn’t always a bad thing, without the flexibility of our memories, however easy it is to distort them, can also be a good thing because without that flexibility, we would always be stuck remembering old memories. Having flexible memories allows us to update our memory banks whenever we come across better information,we are able to learn from our mistakes and improve.

Ricardo Condado

Meshal Muhammad

Group #7

Article #2

“Examining Sleeps Roles in Memory

and Learning” by Ashley P. Taylor

Sleep is known to aid memory and learning. Sarah Mednick, a sleep researcher from the University of California, posed the question, ‘What else might be going during that sleep period that helps people’s memories?’ Mednick and her group measured the electrical activity of the brain and heart. They didn’t think that the heart would have a role in the aid of one’s memories. They found a difference of heart beats between those who did well on the test and those who did poorly on it. Rebecca Spencer, sleep and cognition researcher, stated that people focused more on the role that central nervous system (CNS) and ignored the role of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). People didn’t focus too much on the ANS because this part of the nervous system is responsible of the control of bodily functions that we can’t consciously direct, in this case, our heartbeat. Jared Saletin from Brown University wrote to an email to explain that what the brain and body do during sleep are both important in determining the correlation between sleep and memory. Mednick’s group tested a group of people on the Remote Associates Test (RAT). They were given three words and were asked to come up with a fourth word which related the all of them. There were two groups, one group were able to take a 90 min nap before retaking the test again and the second group had to remain awake until they took the test again. It was concluded that only napping participants who entered REM sleep showed improvements on primed questions. No one improved during novel questions. Other groups have found a relationship between memory and the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system and others found that the more a heart beats the harder it is working therefore causing the participant to be more stressed out. Overall it was found that nappers were found to do better on primed questions.

Elu Saif

Group #7


What is memory? According to the Heald Colleges Edition it defines memory as “the ability to keep things in one’s mind or to recall them at will.” Interestingly I just read two articles the first one was “The Memory Illusion” by Julia Shaw and the other was “Examining Sleep’s Roles in Memory and Learning” by Ashley P. Taylor. Both of them dealt with the topic of “memory” however the first one was strictly based on the author Julia Shaw experience and the second article was research from different sleep researchers from over the world.

 “The Memory Illusion” has a short phrase at the beginning “If you think all of your memories are real and accurate, think again” basically it is saying that if we assume that everything we can remember or recall is true and correct then we need to think twice. While reading through the article it shows how our minds works in terms of the things we recall and different situations we handle mentality. It also states how other people can influence us into something or create a false story and make us believe that it did in fact happen when the person created it on the spot and brought it across like it is real. It also talks about as years seems to go by our memory of a particular event or situation that took place, we start forgetting or leaving pieces  of the story out and we become “confidently wrong” as it states in the article but the way our minds work we still think that we have the perfect memory in our minds.

“Examining Sleep’s Roles in Memory and Learning”  states at the beginning ” Autonomic nervous  system activity during the sleep may help explain variation in the extent to which the behavior aids memory consolidation, a study shows.” The research that the sleep researchers conducted was to find out if a student who learn an assign material,sleep on it if they perform better than a student who learn it then just went and do the exam or test. They referred to the two groups as nappers and non-nappers. From the research that was conducted majority of the researchers said that students who study, sleep and execute perform better than students who just study and execute. This article eventually started to get scientific because it also started to deal with the heart-rate while sleeping. It is also common knowledge that sleeping gives the brain food and also in the article it states that “sleep is known for aid memory and learning. Researchers also explains how different test was given to the two different groups of students and at times when both groups were tested it was both equal and when they made it more challenging the students who took a nap before the test improved at times and sometimes none of the two groups showed improvements.

After reading both articles it showed me how our memory work from different angles and how we think or act can affect our minds. The first article shows how our memory can be full or illusions at times and the second article explained what we do with our body can have an effect on your memories. The second article would of have mixed views seeing that it consisted of researchers from different parts of the United States and also in Europe. To conclude the both articles dealt with memory and it showed it works in different ways.

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