Week 5: Memory/Studying

This week in psychology we will start to study about memory. One very important topic for college students that is closely related to that of memory is study habits. The way you study is very important because it can determine how well you will do on your exams. Different people have different ways of retaining information but it is always important to learn and understand the material rather than just memorizing. I think just memorizing the material without any true understanding will only allow you to retain it in your short-term memory. Learning the material in a timely manner and allowing yourself to process the information little by little will allow you to remember that information for a longer period of time.

Personally, my study habits have drastically changed from my first semester as a freshman to now as a sophomore. I usually start my week by writing down all my due dates for assignments in my planner. On a separate sheet of paper I make a weekly schedule where I include all the assignments I have to complete for each class as well as when I need to be studying. Last semester I made the mistake of studying the night before every exam and my grades were not all that great;therefore, I challenged myself to change that. This semester has been such an improvement for myself because I study my lecture notes daily and allow myself time to process the material before the exams. For example, for psychology I study the lecture notes every night , read the textbook and place sticky notes on important parts of the chapter, and make  notecards for all of the vocabulary . Giving myself time allows me to take things slowly which in turn allows me to understand the material more in depth.

As a college student I have a very busy schedule, but I have made it my priority to find time for studying. Having a job, being a part of many different organizations on campus, and being a pre-med student is really challenging, but I think it keeps me on track in order to accomplish my goals.



Study Habits

Study habits are arguably something that everyone needs to work on.  When it comes to studying I have always had issues with procrastinating.  This backfired on me during the first exam because I waited before the night before to restudy the powerpoint presentations and really overlooked everything else.  So my plan for the future is I am going to add a couple more days to my study process not only to spread out the ideas that I need to make sure to have a grasp on, but also to add the book and mini lectures to my studying so I make sure I leave no stone unturned.

Study Habits

For this week in Psychology we are going to be discussing memory. One thing that is related to memory is studying. They are connected because the information you learn while studying is put into your short term memory first then transferred into long term memory. Some people retain information better if they read the same subject continuously; others have to repeatedly write or say the information. My current study habits are studying with music on and maybe with a few people in my room. I currently do not have the best studying habits. When I study  I feel the need to have background noise, although this can cause multiple distractions in the process. I believe the best way to fix my habits would be to maybe listen to my music a little quieter and find a room that I can be isolated in.

Memory // Study Habits

This week, we are prompted to discuss about our study habits. Usually, I start out my week by writing down all of my assignments, activities, goals and tasks for that week in my agenda. I plan out times that I should be studying in the library and what class to study for on certain days. When I study for tests and quizzes, I use Quizlet flash cards to help myself memorize terms and processes for classes such as biology and psychology. Because this is a new method of studying that I adopted this semester, I’m not sure whether or not this method will work for me. In addition to using flash cards, I often record notes from textbooks and lectures in a notebook. I am satisfied with my note taking techniques because I have already found a way to effectively organize my notes. I still struggled to motivate and push myself to actually review them consistently. Knowing myself, I tend to procrastinate and get distracted easily, and eventually become behind the schedule I had initially set earlier that week.

For the last psychology exam, I did not get the chance to study my flash cards as much because I did not make them in a timely manner. In order to avoid the same situation from occurring, I will make flashcards immediately after each lecture and divide them up into smaller categories. This should allow me to remember and categorize the abundance of information I learn more efficiently. I spent most of my study time for the first exam by repeatedly looking over my notes and the textbook. This method only helped me remember the material to an extent, since I had difficulty remembering material that wasn’t discussed or reviewed as much in class. For the next exam, I plan to rewrite my note without looking at them to avoid being stuck on the free response questions. Hopefully, I will be able to discover new ways to help me study for subjects that require a lot of memorization after this week’s lessons.

Week 5 First Impression

For this week’s first impression post, I decided to watch Dr. Elizabeth Loftus’s fascinating TED talk about false memories. She began her talk by telling the story of a man named Steve Titus who had been incarcerated for rape based mainly on the victim’s testimony. The victim had originally identified the man from a photo lineup as closely resembling her rapist, but by the time the trial was held, she was convinced that he had, in fact, committed the crime. It was only later, when an investigative reporter tracked down the actual perpetrator, that Titus was released. Unfortunately, his life had been ruined and, while involved in litigation to seek reparation, he died of stress-related heart attack at the age of 35. This story is terribly sad to think about and unfortunately, it’s not all that uncommon. As Dr. Loftus mentioned, many people who are falsely convicted, where convicted based on misinformation given, intentionally or otherwise, by witnesses. I was particularly interested in this part of the talk and later references to this research’s applicability to criminal law because I am an enthusiastic fan of the true crime genre and I’ve seen or read about many cases in which eye witness testimony has proven to be partially or even entirely inaccurate.

As the talk went on, Dr. Loftus focused on two main topics, the concept of false memories and the possibility of their use to improve people’s lives. False memory does not seem to be all that farfetched to me. Unlike some people who would like to think otherwise, I am well aware that my recollection of events and details is often flawed in some way and my sister is always thrilled to point out such imperfections. When Dr. Loftus was talking about the so-called repressed memories that people were rediscovering or even the more benign “lost-in-the-mall” scenario implanted by researchers, it made a lot of sense to me. If you think back on your childhood, your life three years ago or even 3 months ago, there are going to be gaps which could be molded into false memories. For example, you can probably remember your address from when you were eight as well who you were living with, where you went to school, and possibly a friend or two, but you would be hard-pressed to name every student in your class or what your favorite color was unless those things had exceptional importance at the time. It probably wouldn’t be all that difficult to convince you that you had a best friend named Charlie or that your favorite color was blue if I asked you the right questions. In regard to traumatic repressed memories, I think it’s safe to say that many people would think it would be hard to falsify something like that but I’m not so sure. I happen to be extremely jumpy and flinch violently around unexpected movement or uninitiated physical contact. A psychotherapist might suggest that I was abused as a child and even though that’s not the case, there is a possibility that with enough time and trust in the therapist, I would develop a false memory.

The possibilities of using false memories to benefit people would be limited I think. It’s difficult to consider the pros and cons when the viability of such a method is in question. In an ideal setting, there would certainly be some positive ways to use this research. To use Dr. Loftus’s example, you could convince obese children that they enjoyed certain healthy foods. In this same vein, you could convince the child that they disliked unhealthy foods and behaviors. This research could also be helpful in rehabilitating people with addictions by creating negative memories of the addictive substance. Unfortunately, the main issue with this is that you are compromising the free will of an individual and you run the risk of falling down a slippery slope. The core of our identities is our memory and it is ethically, if not morally, wrong to alter someone’s identity without consent and possibly even with consent. While I would like to believe that this would only be used to help people, there are certainly some bad actors in the world and they could use this in a lot of harmful ways. That being said, I would like to point out again that it probably wouldn’t be possible to radically alter someone’s memory without the use of an extensive regime of drugs and conditioning. While I can see how you could create negative memories that would act as a deterrent to certain foods, I myself avoid sweet and sour chicken after a juvenile bout of food poisoning, I think it would be hard to create “warm, fuzzy feelings” that would have a positive effect on behavior. I don’t think that we generally attach certain feelings to food. We can associate feelings with situations that involve food such as family meals or dates, but I don’t get a particular feeling when thinking about cabbage or provolone. In general I think we are driven by physical stimuli when it comes to food. We eat food that tastes good, not necessarily food that is attached to any specific memories. My family always has green bean casserole at thanksgiving and I’ve always enjoyed thanksgiving, but I’ve never liked that casserole. There’s something about the combination of sour cream and green beans that makes me want to gag. If I had a fond memory of ranch dressing, it wouldn’t make me want to eat it any more or less because my feelings on it are rooted in my sensory present. To wrap things up, I think the study of memory and, specifically, false memory is fascinating, but I am skeptical about our abilities to manipulate it to our whims.

First Impression- Study Habits

My current study habit is waiting till the night before an exam to start studying. I try and go over three weeks of material in a few hours. This is inefficient because my mind can’t process that much information in a short amount of time. I plan to review material as I learn it. For example, when I learn about a new section of a chapter in lecture for a class, I will review that new material later that night. This repetivitve exposure will increase the amount of information that I process and and can store in my brain

Study Habits

Although my current study habits are well developed, there’s always room for improvement. I have a tendency to wait until the last minute to do things, which is something I would like to change. This is especially problematic before tests because it doesn’t give me a chance to learn the material. For my first exam I ready the book consistently but didn’t actually sit down to study the material until the night before. I mainly studied by reading through my notes. I did make a quizlet for Piaget’s stages of development. The quizlet helped me sequentially organize the material in my head and helped me recall it quickly.

Before my second exam, I’d like to begin studying at least a week in advance. This gives me an opportunity to clarify any ideas that might still be hazy. In addition to this, I believe the more I look at the material the better I’ll remember it. I believe this relates to plasticity, or the ability of the brain to create new synaptic connections. The more you look at the material, the stronger the neural networks involved in learning that material become. Conversely, the less frequently you look at the material the weaker the neural networks involved in recalling that material become. This is process is known as pruning, and it allows for the removal of “clutter” from the brain.

A False Conviction

Poor Titus.

Psychological scientist Elizabeth Loftus studies memory and tells of an example of a faulty memory that ultimately ruined the life of a man: Titus (falsely convicted and accused by the victim of rape) who was innocent through and through. He is just one of the many cases of this same mistake. Elizabeth studies what she calls false memories: memories of things that never happened, or altered memories.

I learned that our memory is seen here as a fragile device. It is not a perfectly functional recorder. A striking quote that illustrated this was, “Our memories are constructive. They’re reconstructive.Memory works a little bit more like a Wikipedia page: You can go in there and change it, but so can other people.”

Elizabeth did several studies that showed that if you misinformed people, you could tamper and change what people would remember. This happens all the time. If we see media coverage or talk to someone who mentions what they saw, we are easily swayed. A large example was in the 90’s, when some people left psychotherapy got bizarre memories that had never occurred. Imagination, hypnosis, dream interpretation, and exposure to false ideas could lead to completely false memories.

To study this, Elizabeth gave scenarios and told about them and planted very visual false memories in a quarter of the subjects tested. This was also reproduced around the world. This is so frightening to me. I’ve seen this manipulation idea in movies and could not believe that this was quite prevalent in this world. I can see this false memory implantation method to be quite abused and could be used to harm others. It’s already seen that it can affect behaviors long after the mind manipulation.

It is crazy to think that just because that someone thinks that something happened and say it with such confidence and emotion, that doesn’t mean it actually occurred. People make memory mistakes and this is normal. 

This being said, I believe perhaps positive outcomes could come out of this. If bad habits could be removed and positive behaviors could be reinforced, maybe such mind manipulation of changing memories could be considered. Such as giving some people struggling with obesity and if you planted an idea that turned into a memory of theirs, saying that they loved to eat vegetables, this would indeed “naturally” help the person without them having to take medicine and other harder measures. Also another positive outcome could be helping a PTSD patient heal by not erasing their memories per say, but by tweaking it, perhaps changing it that they never saw their friends die in battle or that they never joined the military. This could save someone from trauma and possible suicide.

Still, to me this line is too blurry and too close to mind control and I could see this leading to very scary situations and outcomes, such as police planting false memories into suspects, causing them to plead guilty. I know that this sounds like a stretch, but it’s been shown in this video that things like this to this degree could indeed happen. It’s too often seen in history that we as humans abuse the powers we are given or get our hands on. These tactics should not be used on people for other’s own selfish means or bad intentions. Many lives could be destroyed and be scarred forever. We need to be careful and weary of this method and to be aware that people’s minds are easily influenced and could remember something “imaginary” or could reimagine something occurring another way.


Memory- First Impression Post

This week in psychology we are learning about how memory works, and how that can influence learning. So, for this week we were to watch a Ted talk, given by Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist who specializes in memory, about memory to get a first look into how crazy memory really is. The Ted talk opens up with the story of a man who was wrongfully accused of rape because the memory of the abused girl wasn’t fully there, so since he looked like the assailant in her brain, she had him convicted. This was but wasn’t shocking to me, because I think I remember something correctly when I don’t all of the time, but you would think someone would remember their rapist’s face. Loftus moves on from this by bringing up a range of experiments done with memory, which of course I thought I could beat them, like every human likes to think, but when the results she got were shown, I thought much less of my abilities had I of taken the test. What interested me was that I remembered seeing the car experiment from an episode of “Brain Games” I saw a long time ago, so seeing an actual psychologist confirm what was said shocked me, because I though that show was more fictional. After seeing this Ted talk I’m more interested in how memory works, because maybe I can help lower the amount of false memories I have while studying.

Study Habits

In this impression post I will be talking about my study habits and what I could do to improve my study skills for the upcoming exams this year. My study habits are not great and I always tend to have a habit to start studying until the week that the test is on. I don’t start studying for the test until 2 or 3 days before it is test day. I usually study for 4 hours and take a break every once in a while when I’m tired of reading.I did not do so well on the first psychology test like I expected it to be because my studying skills and time management were not good enough.

Studying in college is different compared to high school because there is more information that needs to be understood before an exam and trying to learn it all in one day is not good for the memory. I need to improve my study skills by trying to read my notes at least one a week before the test, create some flashcards, and seek help if I don’t understand a concept from the lecture.I also need to work on improving my time management because if I don’t, then I will  have to worry about doing other assignments from other classes, readings, and studying for the test will be difficult to achieve. I also need to try and get enough sleep before the exam because it will prevent me from being too tired to remember what I have studied.If I want to do better on my next exam I will need to find a way to improve my study habits.