This essay will critique the research paper

This essay will review the research paper “Photographs Can Distort Memory for the News” ( Garry M. , Strange D. , Bernstein D. , and Kinzett T, 2007 ) . This research paper investigated whether or non snap could take to false memories for elements of a newspaper narrative. The experimental design utilised two experimental conditions. The experimental status presented participants with photographic stuff that showed the harm caused by a hurricane, and the control status presented participants with exposure that showed no harm. Participants in both experimental conditions were presented with three undertakings, of which merely one undertaking contained the experimental conditions. All participants took portion in a ulterior session to mensurate their callback truth in footings of the articles presented to them in the first session.

The first session required that participants reviewed from an column position three separate articles to place losing words, and to make up one’s mind where exposure should be placed within each article. The 2nd article presented to participants for their reappraisal was about a hurricane that had struck the seashore of Mexico. Participants were either presented with exposure of the site before the hurricane struck, or exposure of the site after the hurricane had hit. The article made reference of belongings harm, power supply outages, inundations and storms, but made no reference of personal hurts. The primary inquiry of this piece of research was “would participants who saw the ‘after’ exposure falsely retrieve reading about serious personal hurts caused by the hurricane.

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The 2nd session presented the participants with an unexpected trial of their callback of the content presented to them in the first session. The trial comprised 30 inquiries runing over the three articles, and designed to place whether participants in the experimental status had constructed false memories of the article or non. All participants were measured for truth of callback over all three articles, as a forecaster of their general callback ability to avoid consequences being skewed by single differences in recall ability. Of the 30 inquiries, nine related straight to the original articles, twelve were unrelated to the original articles, and 12s were ‘lure’ inquiries designed to place false memories constructed by participant’s in the experimental status. Both exposures used in the experimental status were reviewed independently to guarantee that there were no inside informations associating to the enticement inquiries present in the exposure.

The consequences showed a statistically important interaction between the type of exposure that the participants saw, and the truth of their memory, specifically in footings of the hurricane doing terrible personal hurt, a fact that was non mentioned specifically in the article text, or evident in the exposure in either experimental status.

The weaker facets of this piece of research root from the design of the survey itself, and some of the premises that underpin the design of the survey. The design of the survey utilises a closed system, that is, the participants are assumed to be influenced entirely by the use of variables within the confines of the two experimental conditions, embedded within two Sessionss carried out at separate times. No indicant is given as to the period between the two Sessionss. The job is that the participants would about surely have been exposed to an association between hurricanes and personal hurt outside of this survey, or during the survey given the unspecified period between Sessionss. Anecdotally, personal hurt and natural catastrophes would look a sensible association to do for most people. The research workers themselves highlight their premise by saying “…our participants read merely three intelligence stories…” , a statement probably to be untrue of any individual capable of reading in any developed state. The premise that what is being measured is merely influenced within the confines of the experimental environment is one normally made by positive scientific method, and undermines the grade to which the consequences can be considered to be representative of the general population. While the consequences do demo a statistically important difference between the callback truth of participants across the two experimental conditions it is questionable whether the consequence is straight attributable to the use of variables within the confines of the experiment. This review will now travel on to look at alternate causing originating from the design of the experiment.

CBC News Canada ( 2006 ) reports “Mexico ‘s Pacific seashore has been blitzed with storms this twelvemonth, as opposed to the relativelycalm season in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, which has seen small activity after a annihilating 2005.” Could at that place have been an association in the heads of the participants between Mexico, hurricanes, and personal hurt stemming from media coverage outside of the experimental state of affairs? If there was, did this survey simply tap into that association instead than do the participants within the experimental status to actively retrace their memories specifically on the footing of the ‘after’ exposure? Harmonizing to Touryan, Marian and Shimamura ( 2007 ) there are ambiguities around distinguishing cardinal and peripheral information in callback procedures. Christianson ( 1992, cited in Touryan, Marian and Shimamura 2007 ) points out that emotional events gaining control attending at the disbursal of attending and memory for peripheral information harmonizing to the Attentional Narrowing Hypothesis, and it is non clear from Garry et al’s ( 2007 ) survey whether cardinal and peripheral information have been differentiated within their survey or non. Be the photographs’ peripheral or cardinal to the completion of the undertaking, from the point of position of the participants? The instructions provided to participants could be construed as underscoring the article instead than the exposure, as the participants were asked to see themselves as an editor. Harmonizing to the Attention Narrowing Hypothesis, emotions cut down the ability to remember accurately points peripheral to the cardinal points. Be it the article content instead than the exposure that influenced the truth of callback of the participants? The article content provided far more cues for negative constructs of the event, such as power outages, belongings harm etc, than did the ‘before’ exposure.

Perlstein, Elbert and Stengler ( 2002, cited in Touryan, Marian and Shimamura 2007 ) found that working memory public presentation was reduced through transition of emotion during information retrieval, or specifically when participants tried to retrace information stored in memory. There is hence an influence of emotions on recording and callback procedures in memory, but it is non clear how Garry et al’s ( 2007 ) survey takes this into history in footings of how emotions outside of the experimental environment relate to the callback processes measured within the experimental environment. Emotions other than those associated with the personal hurt of victims of hurricanes could besides act upon the ability of participants to remember facets of articles or exposure. What if a participant in the experimental status was upset about something else on the twenty-four hours of the experiment, and the negative emotional rousing they were sing by and large influenced their negative Reconstruction of the events depicted in the exposure? If the article content was recorded and reconstructed instead than the photographic content ( due to the Attention contracting Hypothesis and the deficiency of isolation of emotional variables ) , the consequences could be seen to be invalid, as the causal nexus between the experimental variables and the consequences is questionable.

Another factor that could hold influenced consequences is the sample that was selected for Gary et al’s ( 2007 ) research. The sample comprised 61 psychological science pupils that were required to take part in research by the university. Psychology pupils are likely to be sensitive to the demands of experimental state of affairss, and be speculative about what a research worker is seeking to accomplish, and how the experiment will work to accomplish the researcher’s aims. It is therefore possible that the participants in Garry et al’s ( 2007 ) survey influenced the result of the experiment. The fact that participants in both experimental conditions performed good on memory truth trials suggests that participants were attuned to the experimental undertaking. The influence of emotions on callback truth discussed in old paragraphs may really be mitigated by the choice of the sample, in that the participants may hold been so focussed on the experimental undertaking because they were psychology pupils that they were non influenced by negative emotions during the public presentation of the undertaking. A inquiry does originate nevertheless, around whether the sample selected for Garry et al’s ( 2007 ) survey are representative of the general population, and accordingly are the consequences meaningful outside of the experiment, that is, can the recall truth of psychological science pupils at a New Zealand University be extrapolated to a cosmopolitan scientific jurisprudence?

A concluding factor that should be considered is the lure inquiries themselves, which were the trigger in the experimental status for the callback truth that was measured and so taken as grounds of a causal consequence that answered the cardinal research inquiry. The two strong enticement inquiries were designed to arouse a response from the participant that would grounds whether or non the participant had reconstructed the memory of the article to reflect the before or after exposure. What if the inquiries themselves caused the participant to retrace their memory of the article instead than the before or after exposure? The independent variable defined in Garry et al’s survey is the before or after photograph associating to the hurricane, and the dependant variable is truth of callback. Given the deficiency of definition around cardinal and peripheral points and their influence on memory procedures and the inability to command the influence of emotions on memory procedures that we have already discussed, it is questionable whether the before or after exposure could be said to hold a causal influence on the callback truth of participants. If the enticement inquiries themselves besides had an influence on the callback truth of participants, possibly exacerbated by the demand features of the experiment being perceived by the chosen sample, this throws farther uncertainty on the causal consequence of the independent variable on the dependant variable, and to what degree the consequences can be extrapolated beyond the confines of the experiment.

The positive facets of Garry et al’s ( 2007 ) survey were the controls put in topographic point as portion of the design to guarantee closing of the experimental environment, and control of immaterial variables. Three articles were provided to participants for the experimental undertaking, but merely one of the articles contained the independent variable. This characteristic of the design so allowed the measuring of public presentation of the dependant variable across all three articles, which controlled for the consequence of the undertaking that contained the independent variable act uponing the dependant variable. Where the callback truth across all three undertakings is the same, or similar, the influence of the specific undertaking that contained the independent variable is controlled. While this control works loosely to extenuate the hazard of demand features of a specific undertaking act uponing the consequences, the sample selected for this peculiar survey may outweigh the control really exercised. Similarly, the usage of independent reappraisal to guarantee that the exposure did non demo any marks of physical hurt or any other inside informations associating to the enticement inquiries is a good control. Unfortunately, this control did non cover the possibility that the enticement inquiries influenced recall truth, or that emotions originating from the environment outside of the experiment influenced the result. Measuring the assurance of participants in footings of the predicted truth of their callback of the articles was a utile control around immaterial variables act uponing memories, as assurance steps could be expected to be a sensible forecaster of existent callback truth. Where the forecaster varied overly in relation to the existent step, it could be grounds of an immaterial variable. Anecdotally, assurance degrees are likely to be related to the emotional province of the participant and hence although this control some effectivity, it does non wholly exclude emotional influences on the dependant variable. There is no item as to the type of step used to enter assurance degrees.

Garry et al’s survey is moderately good designed but does non satisfactorily set up a causal nexus between the dependant and independent variables within the experiment, chiefly due to the restrictions of the closed system that was defined for the experiment. The consequences hence have limited relevancy in footings of the general population. Gary et al’s survey does nevertheless place a spread in, and add to, the bing organic structure of cognition around the working of memory procedures and how the external environment, including the media, influences the working of memory procedures.


Garry M. , Strange D. , Bernstein D. , and Kinzett T ( 2007 ) , Photographs Can Distort Memory for the News,Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21:995 1004 ( 2007 ) online 21 May 2007 DOI: 10.1002/acp. 1362

CBC News Canada ( 2006 ) , Hurricane additions strength off Mexico ‘s Pacific seashore, viewed on-line 29ThursdayNovember 2008, hypertext transfer protocol: //

Touryan, Marian and Shimamura ( 2007 ) , Effect of negative emotional images on associatory memory for peripheral information,Memory, 2007, 15 ( 2 ) , 154_166

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