There are two main studies that looked into reconstructive memory. Firstly Bartlett conducted a study in 1932. He said that we change our memories to fit in with what we already know, even though we believe that we are remembering exactly what happened. He gave participants an extract from an old American Folk story ‘War Of The Ghosts’. He wanted to see if people, when given something unfamiliar to read, would alter any of the information when retelling the story from memory. Participants were asked to read the extract and were later asked to recall the story accurately as they could, this was repeated several times during the following weeks. The results showed that participants found it difficult to remember parts of the story concerning spirits and therefore changed parts of the story to make it easier for them to understand. As the weeks went by the participants recall of the story changed bit by bit. Bartlett concluded that our memory is influenced by our own beliefs and understanding.
The second study was conducted by Wynn and Logie in 1998. They wanted to see if the recall of familiar stories would change in the same way that Bartlett found happened with unfamiliar stories. For this study they asked university students to recall details of their first week at university. They were asked to do this several times throughout the year. The results showed that the accuracy of the students descriptions remained the same no matter how many times they were asked (unlike Bartlett’s study). Wynn and Logie concluded that recall of familiar information will not change over time.
Reconstructive memory is when we change parts of a story to fit our understanding. The more times we recall the story the more things are likely to change. However this is more likely to happen when trying to recall unfamiliar information (secondhand information)
There are many different theories of attachment. John Bowlby (1969) suggested that our ability to form an attachment is innate. He believes that babies come into the world with the ability to make others care for them, through crying and smiling. And that mothers have an innate ability to care and protect her child until they mature and are able to reproduce. The innate nature of attachment was illustrated by Conrad Lorenz in 1952 in his imprinting study with geese. Lorenz conducted a study with goose eggs, he hatched one set of eggs in an incubator with himself, ensuring he was the first moving object that they seen when they hatched. The other set was hatched with their mother. After the geese had hatched, lorenz noticed that those he hatched with him would follow him around as if he was their mother. He later mixed the two sets of geese together in a box and set them free, the geese split into their original groups and made their way to who they believed was their mother. Lorenz called this imprinting. following their mother gave them a higher chance of survival as they were always close to their attachment figure.
Bowlby then suggested that a childs early attachments can effect the type of attachments that they will form with others in the future, he called this ‘Continuity Hypothesis’. It is also suggested that children go through a critical period in their life in which they should form an attachment by. This critical period is said to be between the ages or 0-2.5years old, between these ages children should have developed certain behaviours, and form an attachment. If an attachment is not made by this time, then it is highly unlikely to occur at all.
Monotropy – John Bowlby also said that children will all form a single attachment that will be more important to them than the rest. This is usually the mother, according to Bowlby, the father is of rare importance to the childs attachments.