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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Unit Report 1 Memory

Unit 1 Report Memory Student Name

Salt Lake Community College Psychology 1010

Month Day, Year

Teacher’s Name



Part 1

  1. Q: In your brain, knowing how to brush your teeth and knowing that you know how to brush your teeth are processed very differently. Explain how and where in the brain each is processed.

A: Knowing how to brush our teeth comes from our implicit memory which is controlled by the limbic system and the cerebellum. Implicit memories don’t require us to think about them much, we can perform them just as easily as breathing since we use them everyday.

However, when we stop to think about the fact that we know how to brush our teeth we are using our explicit memory which is controlled by the hippocampus, frontal, and temporal lobes.

  1. Q: Explain the difference between internal locus of control and external locus of control. Now imagine that one of your friends has more of an internal locus of control and another friend has more of an external locus of control. What would each friend say after starting a new job? After getting an A on a test? And after breaking up with their girlfriend?

A: Just like it sounds internal locus of control comes from within a person they believe that it’s up to them to succeed, they have control over their lives, and that they can influence the outcomes of situations. On the other side of the coin, external locus of control means that individuals are more likely to blame their surroundings for their failure and believe in luck or fate.

Friend A (internal) would be excited to have a new job they would pat themselves on the back for nailing the interview and not be put down when new coworkers don’t make the effort to talk to them because they would initiate the conversation. Friend B (external) would feel relieved to have a new job and would thank the universe the interviewer picked them and not someone else.

Friend A would smile upon looking at the test grade and say “good thing I studied instead of watching netflix I earned this A”. Friend B would exhale in relief in look up at the sky and say “thank God this test was multiple choice it must have been written in fate to get an A on this test”.

Friend A would be say the typical “it’s not you it’s me” but they would actually mean it telling their now ex that they were no longer happy in the relationship and I assume they would part on good terms. Friend B would probably break up with them after or during a fight pointing out everything they did not like about the other person and making themselves seem like they did nothing wrong (safe to say they did not walk away friends).

  1. Q: Watch this video. At the 1:41 mark, Dweck describes experimental research where kids were either praised for their intelligence or praised for their effort/ hard-work/ strategies/ idea. In this research, what was the independent variable? What were some of the dependent variables?

A: From my understanding during an experiment what the scientist has control over is the independent variable and the result of that change is the dependent variable. Therefore the independent variable was the praise for their intelligence or the praise on their effort, hard work, or strategy which makes the dependent variable how each child responded to the different types of compliments.

Part 2

Q: You are serving on a jury where the defendant has been accused of abusing his daughter when she was two years old. She is now 26. She started talking about these memories when she was 23, after undergoing hypnosis with a psychotherapist. Her testimony on the stand is heart-wrenching. As you and your fellow jurors begin your deliberations, what information from this memory chapter (including videos in the “Absorb” section) should you keep in mind?

A: Memories are the most precious, valuable, and intangible possessions that humans can have, we can play them back time and time again without anyone knowing. Yet no matter how complex and beautiful our minds may be they are not immune to mistakes, in fact they are quite unreliable when they are put to the test. If I were a jury on the trial explained above I would keep in mind that “our memory does not work like a video tape recorder…instead memory is malleable, full of holes, easily contaminated, and susceptible to suggestion” (60 minutes). I would also keep in mind that as humans most (if not all) of our decisions are made through our emotions and personal experiences. Even though the prosecutor (aka the daughter) had a heart wrenching testimony I would be very cautious with taking it for its face value. An accusation of abuse (sexual or physical) that was done twenty four years ago and found out about twenty one years ago has had plenty of time to morph into the perfect tragic story. Three additional factors that come to mind which we discussed in class can apply to this scenario too; storage decay, infantile amnesia, and the misinformation effect.

Storage decay is information that we have encoded but over time it starts to decay in our minds from lack of use (use it or lose it). The daughter did not start talking about her abusive father until the age of 23 when she underwent hypnosis with a psychotherapist and that leads me to believe that a small memory could have been taken out of proportion with leading questions. At times we even have a hard time remembering what we had for breakfast, heck we even forgot what we wanted to grab from another room!

The misinformation effect can also have a role in this case along with innocent encouragement, I can only assume what happened during the hypnosis visit. But it might be safe to say that the psychotherapist asked leading questions after their patient got a bit riled up asking something along the lines of “can you describe to me what you see and feel” “what is your father doing? Is he hitting you or touching you”, “okay you’re doing great keep telling me what he is doing”, “you don’t like what he is doing right”, “ what age do you think you are ? younger than five maybe”, “it’s okay you’re safe he can’t hurt you here, keep going”. All those comments are a gateway to a negative path and small encouragements signaling the person that they are answer the right way. As part of the jury I would want more tests or other sources agreeing with what her initial hypnosis session came up with, I would also want to hear from the defendant, family, and close friends.

Now this is the most important factor (in my opinion at least) and that is infantile amnesia which “refers to the difficulty or inability that adults have in remembering detailed or episodic memories (memories were time, place and events can be identified) from early childhood, generally prior to age 3 or 4. If we think back, most of us have a few “snapshot” memories from childhood where we can remember a single scene or event, but can’t normally place these single memories into a specific context. This inability to remember events as a series is a result of the young child’s undeveloped Limbic System (amygdala and hippocampus) where memories are chemically stored. Interestingly some children can remember events from earlier in childhood but lose access to those memories as they grow to adulthood” (AlleyDog). Just being able to remember something from the age of two is quite rare but to be able to build an entire case around that memory is even more incredible. Like I mentioned most people have a hard time remembering current events, my emotions are telling me to defend the daughter and help give her get the justice and mental peace that she deserves. However, from what I’ve learned about memory my brain is telling me question her ability to recall such an old event no matter how traumatizing it may be. Therefore, I would listen to my brain and not my emotions for I know that our mind (memory) is a double edged sword meant to suit our needs.

Part 3

 Q: Was there anything (concept, theory, idea) from this unit that “gripped” you? In other words, you thought about it more after class or after reading about it. Did you find this idea relevant to your life? Please explain, and be specific in your response.

A: What gripped me from this unit were the following things: the amygdala is responsible for our emotions (especially sadness, anger, fear, and it controls aggression), the hippocampus is responsible for our (long-term) memory, when we forget what we walked into a room for it’s due to encoding failure (which means we never really made an effort to remember it), and that women are better at coping with stress (ha! To all the men).

To be completely honest I didn’t do much (or any) further research on the concepts that grabbed my attention but that doesn’t mean I didn’t stop to think about how they apply to my life. Before class I had no clue what the amygdala was let alone know what it’s responsible for inside our brains but now I can attribute my negative emotions to it. Secondly, the hippocampus is where all the good stuff is saved so we can throw it in eachothers faces when we are angry or when we want to play back a soothing happy memorie from weeks, months, or years back. It’s quite fascinating what are minds are capable of doing and quite hilarious the brain farts that we have from time to time do to our ignorance. Another great gem that I liked is that women are better with coping with stress because we actually talk about our problems and seek comfort from others instead of keeping them bottled up and isolating ourselves like most men tend to do. Ultimately I learned a good deal of terms, concepts, and facts about myself that I’m looking forward to the next unit.


References 60 Minutes, Eyewitness testimony, January 28, 2019

AlleyDog, Infantile Amnesia,, January 29, 2019

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