How Accurate Is Your Memory? Do you rely on your memory for new situations

Do you rely on your memory for new situations that you face? You probably answered yes, but should you? How accurate are our minds in recalling what really happened? When we recall memories, our brains can add, remove and otherwise alter them. Our memories might not be as accurate as you first thought. What even is memory recall and retrieval? What makes it inaccurate? Memory recall or retrieval is the re-accessing of previous events that have been encoded into our brains. When you recall or retrieve a memory, neural activity that was created during the original event is replayed in your mind. The difference? Memories have an added sense of awareness that we are not actually in that situation again. If we didn’t have that awareness, we would basically live through the event again.

The information that we recall is susceptible to external suggestion, which makes our memory less accurate. Recalling and recognition, what’s the difference? When you recall something, you are remembering a fact, event, or object that is no longer physically present. Recalling requires a direct effort to bring the thing to mind in order to use it. When you are taking a test, you are often using recall to bring back information that you previously gained. Recall is considered the subordinate since it is a longer process than recognition. When recalling you must bring back information that relates to the context of the situation, and choose the most relevant from what there is.

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It is more effective when the context of the time of encoding and time of recalling are Previewed and Edited by Veronica Wohlhueter similar. For example, happy people will recall more happy things, and sad people will recall more sad situations. Recognition is associating an event or physical object with something that was previously experienced or encountered. In recognition, our brains quickly link something from the present with something from the past. It is a largely subconscious process, which means we don’t have to make an effort to bring the information to our mind. When you see a certain breed of dog you might instantly think of a dog you once owned or currently own, or a dog from your favourite movie, that is recognition.

Unlike with recognition, there is more than one type of recall. There is free recall, cued recall, and serial recall. Free recall is the process in which when presented with a set of information, you can recall it in any order. Cued recall is the process in which our brains use cues or stimuli to help recall information. Serial recall is our ability to recall events in order. Most often, the more recent events are easier to recall.

When there is more to remember, recalling becomes more difficult, especially in chronological order. This often causes memories to become jumbled in their order, and they then are recalled wrong. When memories are recalled incorrectly, it is not unlikely for them to become replaced by something related, but different. Recalling memories can alter them. Recalling a memory makes it stronger in comparison to other memories. The parts of the memory that you remember can be changed.

Since they are so susceptible to change, they are unstable. The less we think about things that we have experienced, the harder it is to remember those things, because our brains categorize them as info that we don’t need. If your parent tells you to go clean your room and you forget, and then you later claim to have never heard such a command your brain quite possibly categorized it as something you didn’t need to remember. We can remember things that never happened. When we alter the things that we recall, they can become permanently changed, and thinking about other things when trying to recall something can fuse the thoughts with your memories. Each time you remember something, the proteins of that memory can be reformed or modified.

Think of it like the telephone game. When you are passing on the information, or in this case recalling a memory, you can “say” something that was never actually “said” in the first place. In conclusion, recalling memories can alter them by adding, removing, or changing original information. The memories that we recall are not always the ones that were originally encoded into our minds, or they might be memories that had never even been encoded in the first place. The next time you remember something, take a minute to stop and wonder if that’s what really happened, or if it even happened at all.

Works Cited Bjork, Robert A., and Aaron S. Benjamin. Successful Remembering and Successful Forgetting: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert A. Bjork.

New York, NY: Psychology, 2011. Web. Brynie, Faith, Ph. D. “Remembering Something That Never Happened.” Psychology Today.

26 July 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. . Mastin, Luke.

“Memory Recall/Retrieval – Memory Processes – The Human Memory.” Memory Recall/Retrieval – Memory Processes – The Human Memory. 2010. Web. 12 Mar.

2016. .