Okay, we're going to kind of stay on a bit of a theme. so you noticed back behind me it still says, memory as verb. A, I'm going to keep that up there for this lecture and for the next lecture. Because really, This is such an important point and it's relevant to so many different contexts in which memory itself is relevant. That I want to make this point very concretely so that you leave the next two lectures both learning some cool stuff and with a really good, solid understanding that memory really is a very. Dynamics and ever changing process, in a sense. All right? So let's begin by looking at legal contexts, and some of the ways in which memory has been thought of as reconstructive in that context. Here we go. All right, so Week five, lecture three. Memory as Reconstruction: The Law. Yeah. let me get to the law. but let me start here, which is already pseudo legal, I guess. th-,this is not. This does not necessarily depict exactly to this. But the point will be made, I think. Imagine that you are a police officer. And, you get called to a scene and you see this beautiful Corvette that's sitting just like this, with these sort of marks. and now you're, so this is the data, you know, this is what you really have, this is what's sitting there in front of your eyes. But your task as a traffic policeman is now to understand what led up to this. and so you literally have to reconstruct the accident as it's called. And what we have here, again, is probably a very different accident but is a notion of somebody now going through and thinking of a situation. and trying to, to imagine the events that led up to this situation. So in order to that, they're putting together the information they actually have. Okay, the actual stuff that was left by the event. But they're putting that together with assumptions about Other things that also occurred, assumptions that they're arriving at based on what they see. So how did these stripes get left on the pavement? And what do they tell us about the events that led up. So we make some assumptions and we reconstruct the accident. Now- In the police world the advantage is you can easily separate the actual data you had from the assumptions that you made. You can keep those very clearly, and people can, therefore, question your assumptions, for example. Well, from somebody named Sir Francis Bartlett, who started studying memory. He claimed that memory itself works like this. That it is also a reconstructive process. So that we experience some event. And there is residue of that event left in memory. And later when we retrieve it, we do retrieve these little bits. But we did not videotape the event. We don't have all of the information. We only recorded some of the information, and we only retrieve some of that information. Well, how do we get this movie in our mind then? This episodic memory, where does that come from? Well, Barlett says, just like this reconstruction, we take the information we have, and we take all these assumptions we have about how the world works. Or, you know, if we were, let's say, remembering a trip to Jamaica, we have knowledge about Jamaica. and so we take the knowledge we have, we, we take assumptions we have about how things work and we take the actual data that we retrieved, we put all those together, and we get a nice replay in memory. The problem is, in human memory, we have a lot of trouble distinguishing the actual details that were stored versus the assumptions we've made. It feels to us like it's a video tape of the past experience. But a lot of that recreation is not actual data retrieval from the experience, it's assumptions overlayed on it. So that makes memory very dangerous. We can feel like we remember something that isn't true. That's really the point. I'm going to make now in a couple of, kind of classic studies from psychology. The first one comes from a researcher named Elizabeth Loftus who you see down in the corner here. And her experiment, worked like this. Subjects witnessed on a slideshow an accident between two cars. Okay, so they saw two cars connect, run into each other. now what word as you see, is going to be very important here, because, in fact there were no words, originally, when they saw the event, they just watched slides of these two cars coming to contact with each other. But then, you know, some time passed, they were brought back into the lab, and they were asked about that accident. But they were asked in different ways. The verb that was used was changed. So specifically, one of the questions they were asked, and kind of think about this like a courtroom situation now, because Loftus really extends a lot of her data to courtroom situations. So imagine being asked, you're in the witness booth how fast was the red car going when it, now, we could say contacted the blue car. But other subjects were asked how, how fast was the red car going when it hit the blue car. Third group, how fast was the red car going when it bumped into The blue car when it collided with the blue car, or when it smashed into the blue car. The claim here is that the verbs are getting more and more dramatic. And one of the things you see, as shown in this graph, is that the speed estimate that people provide Also goes up. So the more dramatically they're asked -- and this is the question: "How fast was the red car going when it smashed into the blue car?" If you say "smashed," they think it was going pretty fast. If you say "when it hit," they don't think it was going so fast. So the way you ask a question Determines the answer that people give. Lawyers know this. They spend a lot of time, deciding how to ask questions. Well, Okay. So what's going on here? Is it the case that subjects are actually remembering the accident as being more dramatic, when you give them a more dramatic verb? Or, are they just kind of Incongruent with their response. So when you said a dramatic verb, they chose a more dramatic number. They don't really remember it any differently. Maybe they're memory it the same, they're just reporting it differently. Loftus wanted to know which of those were true. Are they reporting it differently, or are they remembering it differently? So she asked a second question. In the actual event that, that the subject saw, there was in fact no broken glass. Okay? These two cars contacted, but it was just a contact, a little bit of damage, but no broken glass but she asked people. Did you see any broken glass? So remember they've seen the event, time had passed, and now their being interrogated about it. Did you see any broken glass? Okay, at a controlled condition where they hadn't been asked first about how fast the cars where going when they hit or smashed etc. in the controlled condition Six people said they saw broken glass. So this just shows you that memory. I'm sorry. That memory isn't perfect to begin with. So even though these six people are saying they saw something that didn't occur. We're going to come back to that in a moment. But most people Said no, there was no broken glass. And, in fact, when we used the word hit in the earlier one, so when we first asked them, how fast was the red car going when it hit the blue car, people are still, and then we say, was there any broken glass? People are still pretty much saying no, there was no broken glass. But when you say smashed, how fast was the red car going when it smashed into the blue car? Now suddenly a lot more people are saying yes there was broken glass. So the claim here, is that by using that word, you are not just changing the way they respond. You're actually changing their memory. When you use a more dramatic word than the, when they replay the event, they replay it as being more dramatic. The word you use is becoming part of their memory recreation, and it's recreating a more dramatic accident. Increasing the likelihood of people saying there were smashed glass when there wasn't. Okay. So, all of this suggests that wam, wow, the question you ask when someone retrieves it changes their memory and that really in the legal context so much what we do So many of the decisions that we make are based on people's memory. Eyewitness memory is a big part of our prosecuting somebody and putting them in jail. So what this suggests is that, wow, when we're interrogating someone's memory, the questions that we ask and the ways we ask them are actually going to affect the testimony. And the legal system, is, is aware of this. And very, you know, insensitive as they can be. But very often you will have memory experts as expert witnesses. you know challenging how real an eyewitness memory is. And looking at the way they have been interrogated about it. this is just one other example of how dramatic you can be. We had in one study, subjects saw this car go through a yield sign, and then they were later told there was an accident with this car. But when they were interrogated, they said, did the car actually stop at the stop sign. So some people were shown a stop sign, at the original one, and so they would answer the question and say, you know, yes or no But in other subjects it was a yield sign, so the car didn't have to stop and it rolled around, but when people were interrogated and said did this car stop at the stop sign, even though it was really a yield sign, it's like the witnesses accepted that it was a stop sign. And would just say something like yes, or no, or, or maybe no it did not. It went right through the stop sign. So my implying there was a stop sign, when people recreated the event, they seem to have replaced the yield sign with the stop sign in their mind. Very powerful stuff. A lot of this really You know, starting a whole area, actually, of research on memory and the law. That's really fascinating. want to learn a little bit more? Here you can actually see the original Loftus and Palmer study. you can have, hear Elizabeth Loftus talk more generally about memory in the context of eyewitness testimony. And this is at, in fact, sort of a podcast YouTube podcast of somebody talking, going back a little bit to sort of Fredric Bartlett, who started a lot of this research, and really pushed that idea of memory as reconstruction. He used something, a poem called war of the ghosts. and so it's a kind of an interesting thing. Check that out. You can hear a lot about what he did and the evidence he found for reconstructive memory. also here are just a couple of, of other web based resources that go into this a little bit more. the issue of memory and how susceptible it is to interference. From other information, so when you see an event, you have a memory. Other things can change that memory and affect it. so this, actually both these resources will talk about that issue. So check those out. Before you go, I want to set you up for the next lecture. I want you to look at these words. Now I want you to remember these words, because in the next lecture we're going to do a demonstration on you, that shows you just how prone to interference your memory is. So take a few minutes, look at these words. Don't write them down, obviously. Just look at them. heck, you can even pause it if you want try your best to remember them. But once you turn this lecture off, don't look at those words anymore. And, whenever you're ready to watch the next lecture, and if you can, leave a little bit of time. Don't watch it right now. unless you have to, given your life and such. but if you can wait a little bit, wait a little bit, then come back and we'll carry on from here next lecture.