Psychology and Memory

Psychology derives from Greek roots meaning study of the psyche, or soul. It is defined as the study of the mind and behavior. Psychology, as defined by the American Psychological Association, is an academic discipline and an applied science which seeks to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific areas.

With Psychology as the study of the mind, it leads us to memory. One function of the mind is to store and remember information. Memory is the sum total of what we remember, and gives us the capability to learn and adapt from previous experiences as well as build relationships.

However, our memory is not perfect or immune to errors. Sometimes we forget things from important to mundane that, one way or another, play such a pervasive and pivotal role in our daily lives. For example, forgetting a friend’s birthday or misplacing an important document.

DLS 2Daniel L. Schacter, psychologist and memory expert, presented a framework designed to outline the seven major “sins” of memory in his book, “The Seven Sins of Memory.” These seven “sins” are transience, absent-mindedness, blocking, mis-attribution, suggestibility, bias and persistence.

Schacter describes the first three sins as those of omission (the memory is lost). Our memory fades over time, is easily distracted that is why we become absent-minded, and is blocked because we struggle to remember things when we know that we know it in the first place.

The last four sins Schacter describes as the sins of commission (at least some of the memory is there, but it is either wrong or unwanted. Our memory mistakes its source, is influenced by outside factors which triggers false memories, is influence by our current beliefs, and remembers things that we would rather forget.

Although our memory is not perfect, it allows us to adapt and interact in a world full of overwhelming information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *