Essay: Memory Processes Thinking and Language Intelligence

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Memory/Intelligence

My First Memory

The earliest memory I can recall is an event that happened when I was two years old. This was definitely and definitively an autobiographical memory, as it was not earth-shattering or of great importance to anyone but me, and in fact it was not even all that important -- or important at all -- in affecting the course of my own life. My earliest memory is of the time that I first burped and said a word at the same time. The word I spoke, or attempted to speak, was a simple, "oh," in response to some fact that my older (and thus far wiser, to my toddler eyes) had just explained to me. Full of seriousness and gratitude at the learning he had bestowed upon me, I was responding with my "oh" when a bubble of intestinal gas made its way through my esophagus, erupting in a simultaneous belch and vocal utterance. We were in our backyard at the time and both collapsed into giggles, and I have recalled (and retold) this story on countless occasions since.

The reason that I remember this event and not others is not entirely clear to me. The text mentions that most adults remember incidents from their toddler-hood; it is possible that this one sticks out because it is humorous and something still quite in character for me to find funny. If I were much more serious now than I had been as a two-year-old, I might not remember this incident. If it didn't fit my current sense of self, it would be less likely for me to still remember it. The text also suggests that toddlers have memories that extend as far back as six months of age. I remember thinking at the time of the incident that it was amazing I had lived so long without burping and talking at the same time, which supports this finding. It is odd to have a memory involving earlier memories that no longer exist for me, but that is how I have remembered this incident consistently for many years. If memory serves correctly

Flashbulb Memories

Though the basic concept of flashbulb memories was explained fairly clearly on page 230 of the text, the mechanism of their formation and the strange inaccuracies that seem to creep in were of great interest to me. The website I visited to learn more about this phenomenon was at the University of California Berkeley's website, and was found through a Google search of the term "flashbulb memories": http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~kihlstrm/flashbulb.htm. The first paragraph on this website provides mostly the same information that is contained in the text, explaining how detailed memories of major events such as the attacks of 9/11, Kennedy's assassination, and space shuttle disasters (this site mentions the Challenger disaster of 1986) tend to form in people's minds. It goes on to mention the fact that some certain gross inaccuracies are often part of these memories.

The reasons behind these inaccuracies… [END OF PREVIEW]

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