Rodrigo Martinez De Zorzi
April 1, 2015
ENG 110; Scott-Copses
The experiencing of emotions plays an adaptive role in our lives. They help us to identify
rewarding endeavors, alert us to potential dangers, and give us a sense of urgency during times of
distress. However, emotions can sometimes be overwhelming, and it would be advantageous to be able
to control such emotions. Unwanted emotional reactions can lead to undue distress and be manifested
in psychological disorders such post-traumatic stress disorder as well as anxiety disorders.
One source of unwanted emotional reactions is memories of stressful or traumatic events. Past
research has found ...view middle of the document...
Most memories are incomplete. Even a seemingly vivid memory of a dinner at a restaurant is
unlikely to include details such as the design of the silverware or the color of the napkins. Even
“flashbulb memories” are not wholly like a photograph. An actual photograph, taken by a flashbulb,
preserves everything within its scope. It is altogether indiscriminate. Our flashbulb memories are not,
and are only somewhat indiscriminate, and far from complete. Emotional memories are, as a result
susceptible to omissions, and there is often the likelihood that details are forgotten.
Cherry, Kendra. “What Is False Memory?” http://psychology.about .com/od/findex/g/false-
I am using this source because it lays out a clear definition of a false memory, which is a
“distorted or fabricated recollection of an event that did not actually happen.” Individuals often think
of memories as something like a video recorder, which stores everything with perfect clarity and
accuracy. In actuality, memories are very prone to fallacy. Individuals can feel completely confident
that their memory is accurate, but this is no guarantee that a particular memory is completely correct.
False memories can also be influenced by misinformation and misattribution of the original source of
the information. The article also refers to the research of Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, who has demonstrated
that it is possible to induce false memories through suggestion. She has also shown that many of these
memories can become stronger and more vivid as time goes on. Memories become distorted and begin
to change over time. In many cases, the original memory can be changed in order to incorporate new
experiences or information. When the original memory begins to fade due to the passage of time,
false memories are more likely to come into play.
Grinnell, Renee M. “The Persistence of Memory: Are Negative Events Easier To Recall?”
This source incorporates an interview with MIT neurobiologist Matt Wilson, and is an interesting addition to the long-standing debate about memory: do people recall good or bad events
more easily? There is convincing research that exists for both arguments, but according to Professor
Wilson it's much easier for people to recall negative memories. According to Wilson: “We think of
memory as a record of our experience. But the idea is not just to store information; it's to store
relevant information. The idea is to use our experience to guide future behavior.” The speculation is
that we process memory in order to solve problems. The things we should learn from, things that are
particularly important or that have strong emotions tied to them, may be things that are going to be
important in the future. If you present stimuli with a...