How does our memory work?

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Memory is a complex network, and memory impairments can occur for a variety of causes (Grossmann, Igor, and Jowhari 65). Although Jim may recall the exact circumstances of the event where they won the lottery, he may be incorrect due to a variety of memory issues.

According to Grossmann, Igor, and Jowhari (65), flashbulb memory happens only when an unanticipated occurrence has strong emotional associations for the person recalling. Typically, it is a type of automatic encoding. For example, the September 11th attack in America may have had a profound impact on many Americans who lost loved ones. However, when your brain is damaged, it can affect many things, including encoding, storing and retrieving (Akram, Umair, et al. 122).

The first contributing factor is known as decay. Decay theory proposes that memory fades due to the mere time passage. When one learns something new, a neurochemical memory trace is created, but over time this trace slowly disintegrates.

Secondly, proactive and retroactive interference may affect the memory when a person has difficulty recalling old information because of previously learned information. For instance, when Jim saw somebody winning the lottery, it can affect him as he may believe that the event occurred to his family (Endress and Potter 548).

Furthermore, the encoding failure is another problem when non-attended information is not encoded into memory. Thus, Jim can lack information and misunderstand his own story. Cue-dependent forgetting is also a significant matter which is the inability to retrieve information stored in memory because of insufficient cues for recall. Because there were not enough cues for remembering which makes it vague, Jim`s mind can be made up vaguely. Therefore, it can be subjected to infantile amnesia which is a difficulty that adults have in remembering episodic memories from early childhood (Zokaei, Nahid, et al. 319). It is possible that Jim could remember the details but could not place these single memories into a specific context. After that, his recall was not in the same emotional mood. For instance, maybe he was surprised at that time but he later got to his normal mood when he was recalling the event.

Jim also experienced the misinformation effect which was presented after the event that altered his memory. Moreover, it is also due to source monitoring confusion which means lack of clarity about the event. For instance, the story may just be fictionally made up by his parents. In addition, it is also possible that his memory was falsely implanted by someone else, by repeating the story and making it seem reasonable; hence, maybe his brother made him believe the whole idea (Zokaei, Nahid, et al. 319).

Lastly, when someone interviewed him about the event and asked misleading questions, it can lead to inaccurate recall. For instance, if somebody asked him if he noticed the lottery winning event, he would be misled and assume that it was actually true.  Jim stored the memory incorrectly long ago and he still considers. Thus, Jim experienced the misinformation effect, meaning that misleading information was presented to him after the event (Zokaei, Nahid, et al. 319).


Flashbulb memory occurred in Jim making him believe that his parents won the lottery causing a significant impact on his memory. His inaccurate memory can be explained by decay, retroactive interference, lack of cues and receiving of misleading information.

Works Cited

Akram, Umair, et al. "Insomnia is associated with impaired response time but not accuracy on

facial memory recall task." Journal of Sleep Research 25.1, SI (2016): 122-123.

Endress, Ansgar D., and Mary C. Potter. "Large capacity temporary visual memory." Journal of

Experimental Psychology: General 143.2 (2014): 548.

Grossmann, Igor, and Nickta Jowhari. "Cognition and the self: Attempt of an independent close

replication of the effects of self-construal priming on spatial memory recall." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 74 (2018): 65-73.

Zokaei, Nahid, et al. "Working memory recall precision is a more sensitive index than

span." Journal of neuropsychology 9.2 (2015): 319-329.

April 26, 2023



Biology Mental Health

Subject area:

Memory Brain Trauma

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