Author Archives: Zoe Elizabeth Hoch


Imagine that you are sitting in your apartment complex and it’s a little bit later at night. You can see into the neighbor’s window because they never close their shades. They are elderly and usually just sit and watch television. Tonight you notice that there is someone wandering around outside dressed in all black, and suddenly break into that neighbors house. You see them hit the person inside and steal items from their home. When the cops show up, you have to tell the story since you witnessed everything that happened and the neighbor was struck so doesn’t remember everything as clear. You tell your story to them that night and then ask if you can go to court later to testify as a witness. Later in the month, they want you to tell what you saw in court after they found the man who broke in. You tell your story but then the stories don’t match up because your story that you can recall now is different and has changed from the original story when you witnessed the crime right away. This is a prime example of the misinformation effect.

The misinformation effect is “a phenomenon which occurs when exposure to new information (including one’s own thoughts) after witnessing an event that can lead people to believe that they have seen or experienced something they never did” (Ševelj & Gedye, 2014). This is common in everyday life, and happened for a lot of different events. It can be something bad such as a car accident or robbery to a concert or party. A lot of people add in details or take out details when they recall information. Sometimes, this is used for media purposes, or friends, to make a story sound better, more detailed, more intriguing. The misinformation effect can occur in three stages:

The acquisition stage – this is where the original event is perceived. The retention stage – the time between a piece of information being perceived residing in memory and the recalled. The retrieval stage – the time daring which the information required is recalled (Ševelj & Gedye, 2014).

An everyday life example of these stages in action is that my friends recently were following a car that had just committed a hit and run. My friends decided to follow them, he was swerving and speeding and ended up crashing into a pole or stop sign. When the cops showed up, they told them what they had saw the guy do as soon as the accident happened (acquisition stage). A month of so later, they got a subpoena to come into the courts to testify as a witness of what they did. They had to go to court and recall what they had saw a month ago (retention stage). When they recalled the information, there was things left out and things added in – not because they wanted it to sound better for the court, but because it had been a month that they hadn’t thought about the accident and was trying to recall what they thought happened to the best of their ability (retrieval stage).

Misinformation effect can go together with the false memory effect. False memories are “a memory of an event that did not actually occur” (Kowalczyk, 2015). This can be compared with the misinformation effect because although the misinformation effect is just altering the information that is being recalled about an event, false memory can be added or forgotten information during a recall. Kowalczyk, 2015 states “memory is extremely moldable and malleable.” While most people are good at recalling the accurate information about an event, everyone creates and alters information in their memory from time to time.






Works Cited


Kowalczyk, D. (2015). False Memories in Psychology: Formation & Definition. Web.      <



Ševelj, M., & Gedye, L. (2014, November 12). Misinformation Effect. Web.



Your poor aging episodic memory.

Have you ever wondered why you remember an event differently than a friend who was at the same even as you? You tell a story of an event that you and your friend went to together and as you’re telling a story you one of your other friends, the friend you went with cuts in and says that wasn’t how it happened and starts to explain it how they believed it went. You wonder why they are making up a story as well as they are wondering why you are making up the story. This is due to episodic memory. Episodic memory is when you have an experience in a time of your life that someone may also have had and experience f that is different that you are later able to recall as part of our long-term memory. While you age, being able to recall these memories isn’t too hard, but you may not remember everything. You also have a harder time forming new episodic memories as you age.

When we age we know a lot of things are hard on us whether it be our legs, joints, or memories. We know there are a lot of mental diagnoses that are given as we age such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. One study researched looked at high performance and low performance people to see how their episodic memory was, relative to their IQ, using the standard classification method. Dockree, Brennan, O’Sullivan, Robertson & Redmond (2015), stated “…some individuals showing progressive decline with advancing age and others showing preservation of this essential cognitive ability.” They are not saying that all people have a decline in episodic memory, but they do have some people that do. This is how they separate them into high performance and low performance brain functions. They resulted that the high performance people “accumulate memorial evidence for learned information more effectively, show compensatory neural activity during encoding and preserved neural mechanisms at retrieval” (Dockree, et. al. 2015). Most participants in the study were able to gather memories with no problem. They were able to compensate the parts of the memory that was missing with something logical that would fit in and fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, the lower performance group had a harder time with episodic memories.

In another article about episodic memory, they used resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) to look at episodic memory. Fjell, Sneve, Grydeland, Storsve, DeLange & Amlien (2015) cited:

Tambini et. al. (2010) found enhanced functional connectivity (FC) between the hippocampus and a portion of the lateral occipital complex during rest following a task with high subsequent memory, an effect that was not seen during a task with poor sub- sequent memory. Additionally, the magnitude of the hippocampal- occipital correlation during post-task rest predicted later associative memory.

When we do tasks that we enjoy, we are able to better recall them. This is all involved in the hippocampus, we are able to filter what information is relevant and what we want to remember and what we are able to forget. The neurons fire information that we need in order for our cortex to be able to hold our memories. As we get older, the firing rate of neurons is much slower and we have a harder time in retaining and recalling information.






Works Cited


Dockree, P. M., Brennan, S., O’Sullivan, M., Robertson, I. H., Redmond G.

O’Connell, Characterizing neural signatures of successful aging: Electrophysiological

correlates of preserved episodic memory in older age, Brain and Cognition, Volume

97, July 2015, Pages 40-50, ISSN 0278-2626,



Fjell, A. M., Sneve, M. H., Grydeland, H., Storsve, A. B., de Lange, A. G., Amlien, I. K., . . .

Walhovd, K. B. (2015). Functional connectivity change across multiple cortical

networks relates to episodic memory changes in aging. Neurobiology of Aging,



Naturalistic Observation

Naturalistic Observation is something that is common to everyone with or without conducting an experiment. When you do use naturalistic observation in an experiment, you are watching people and seeing the way they act, react, and interact with a certain situation or with other people. This way, you are able to see them in a setting where they typically are unaware they are being observed. I have had to conduct an experiment involving naturalistic observation when observing students purchasing soda in the student union. Naturalistic observation as many advantages when you are trying to get the most accurate results. At the same time, naturalistic observation comes with a few disadvantages.

My experiment that I had to conduct was at the Penn State: Greater Allegheny branch campus in the student cafeteria. Since it is a branch of Penn State, there was a good diverse group of nationalities. With a “total of 150 participants were involved in which 68 were women and 82 were men” Hoch (2012) asserted that previous literature on the Comparison of the Purchasing of Soda Between Genders (p. 1). I watched student who were ringing out at the cafeteria to see the ration of soda buyers in comparison to other type of drink buyers. I would have to sit in the café and watch people go threw the line and then I would record my results to look over them later and compare.

There are many advantages to naturalistic observations such as that you are in a setting in which no one really knows you are watching them. When I conducted my experiment, no one knew that I was watching him or her choose what kind of drink he or she chose for that day. This can lead to more accurate results due to the fact that they aren’t influenced to choose a certain beverage when knowing someone was watching. This would be a good method to use when you want to find out a certain result in a setting that the participant would better act themselves rather than them knowing.

The disadvantages of naturalistic observation are because they do not know they are being watched, they may not respond or react in favor to the experiment. They may not have purchased a soda, and since I did not record when a person did not purchase a drink, the experiment it probably flawed. If a person knew, you would be allowing them to decide whether they want a drink or not what kind of drink they would choose. You would also be able to communicate with them and even when your not watching them ask what kind of drink they had bought from the cafeteria.

In this paper, we have talked about a few topics dealing with naturalistic observation. My experiment done in the past was a perfect example of naturalistic observation. We have also learned the advantages to using this method in research in good situations, meant to be watched in a neutral setting. We have also looked at how there may be a disadvantage to conducting an naturalistic observation experiment. Even with learning all the disadvantages and advantages, one can believe this is a good and accurate way of conducting an experiment as I have learned while I was conducting mine.




Hoch, Z. (2012). A Comparison for Purchasing Soda Between Genders. Unpublished manuscript, Pennsylvania State University.