Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rashomon explained?


"We found something different than what leading theories of emotional memory in adults say," Brainerd said. Those theories say that "When you're involved in a very negative experience of some sort, like a crime, it focuses your mind, and you really pay attention to details.
"But our research showed that exactly the opposite is true. By manipulating the emotional content of word lists, we found that materials that had negative emotional content in fact produced the highest levels of false memory. And when you add arousal to the equation, memory was distorted more."

Via Science Daily 

10 comments:

Maju said...

"... materials that had negative emotional content in fact produced the highest levels of false memory. And when you add arousal to the equation, memory was distorted more".

Makes sense to me and to some extent at least it fits with my personal experience. The mind tricks itself into not facing such traumas, even if facing them may be liberating, the pain or shame may be too subjectively terrible and you really don't want to look there.

So you deceive yourself and/or blurr the memory.

Still it subjectively keeps terrorizing you and any detail may trigger trauma-revival, which is, I guess, on what the first theory relies.

manju said...

So you deceive yourself and/or blurr the memory.

Do you mean intentional behaviour? I suppose the research talks about involuntary behaviour.

Maju said...

"Do you mean intentional behaviour?"

Not really. You probably are not really conscious.

But anyhow, as you ask, in my experience the line between conscious and unconscious thought is somewhat blurry, because you can become conscious of what you do unconsciously, at least to some extent, and vice versa, when you gain expertise in something you do it almost automatically, without putting really much thought into it.

manju said...

The research is about validity of human evidences in criminal cases in law. But I'm not sure whether they are talking about witnesses who are part of the crime (as a perpetrator or victim) or the eye witnesses.

So, I wonder whether your memory distorts the situation if you are not involved in the negative situation. I would think you add 'more meaning' to a negative situation if you are directly part of it.

Also, I'm not clear whether the experiment (words list) makes the participants 'eye witnesses' or 'actors' in the negative situations.

When you say 'personally' you are casting yourself as an actor in the negative situation.

Maju said...

"I would think you add 'more meaning' to a negative situation if you are directly part of it".

If it's something traumatic, most tend to "forget" it: to ignore and bury it deep in the unconscious. But of course it's not gone and comes as irrational reactions when something triggers the memory.

"When you say 'personally' you are casting yourself as an actor in the negative situation".

Or observer. But whatever the case you are involved in it and you don't want to, so you react (I guess) normally with instinctive avoidance (and avoidance of the memory). Decorating a story with fictitious "facts" can also be a way to avoid it.

manju said...

Twice my comments have been deleted! What is going on here?

manju said...

I wonder whether we can apply the present study to this case.
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-10914960

In this case, Naomi was part of negative situation, whereas Mia and Carole were witnesses to a negative situation. Mia's and Carole's evidences are consistent whereas Naomi's differ in the first half but in the latter part (what has happened to diamonds)all three were consistent.

If the present study applies to both types of witnesses (actor and observer) then all three should have given different versions. However, that is not the case. Observer witnesses were consistent. Thus I suppose this study applies only to witnesses who are part of the negative situation. The question, was it intentional or involuntary as suggested by the study.

I think it's involuntary. Just like the Samurai's wife, Naomi was part of negative situation and her memory distorted the actual events to maintain her dignity in society's eyes. Both are innocent women conforming to feudal-patriarchal ideals and found caught in wrong foot at some point. Naomi was naturally excited about receiving a gift from a respectable man (Which Charles Taylor was since Nelson Mandela was present in the party) as any lady would. However, when she found out that she was excited about something wrong her mind involuntarily distorted the actual events a bit.

Maju said...

"Twice my comments have been deleted! What is going on here?"

No idea but I got three similar (identical?) comments of yours by email before this complaint.

"I wonder whether we can apply the present study to this case".

It's possible but it's also possible that Campbell is trying to protect Taylor consciously, that's my impression at least. Not just she may have got a crunch for him in the past but there's also the issue of ethnic/racial solidarity. She may subjectively feel that Taylor is being scapegoated by a white-centric world order and that Black people also have the 'right' to be world-class criminals... erm political leaders. I don't think that Campbell has any sort of humanitarian feelings, does she?

manju said...

I think Blogger automatically deletes comments with links embedded with html codes.

Maju said...

I don't think that's the case. I never had such problems, it's probably a random unexpected error of some sort that won't happen again.

Anyhow, for example, this is the link you posted. It should not be any problem, I have posted similar links often.