Eye Witness Testimony

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1a. Explain what is meant by the term repression (3 marks)

 b. Explain what is meant by the term flash bulb memory (3 marks)

 2a. Outline one explanation of forgetting in STM (3 marks)

 b. Outline one explanation of forgetting in LTM (3 marks)

 3. Outline and evaluate research into eye witness testimony (18 marks)

 1a. Repression is forgetting because the memory holds too much emotion to remain conscious. Freud (1901) believed that some forgetting is an unconscious, motivated process. We forget certain memories because they are too psychologically painful to remain conscious. Therefore we repress them (push out) the memory and they remain inaccessible in our unconscious. For example, abuse experienced as a child might be repressed in memory.

 b. Flashbulb memories are a special kind of episodic memory, which we can vividly recall in great detail (e.g. September the 11th) It is called a flashbulb memory as the memory is recalled in almost photographic detail. They can also be about personal events, such as the birth of a brother. For Flashbulb memories to occur the event must be emotionally significant and are often unexpected. People who have flashbulb memories ten to remember information surrounding the event such as; where they were, what they were doing, who told them the news, what they felt about it, how others felt about it and what happened immediately afterwards.

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 2a. One theory of forgetting in STM is displacement. Forgetting in terms of capacity (7+/- 2: Miller, 1956). Once STM is full, any new information pushes out or ‘displaces’ old information. Old information is therefore forgotten.

 2b. A theory of forgetting in LTM is Interference. According to this explanation, similar memories interfere, disrupt and confuse each other. The more similar the information is the more likely interference will occur. There are two types of interference: Proactive (forward) interference: when old memories affect new memories e.g. calling a new boyfriend by an old boyfriend’s name. And Retroactive (backward interference) new memories affect ...

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