Recounting one’s memory is common in everyday experience, such as in educational settings and spatial navigation. How recounting affects memory has largely been examined with verbal materials, with few studies examining its effects on visual memory. The goals of this dissertation are to investigate the effects of recounting a visual memory, first on the person recounting the memory, and second on the ability of the listeners to reconstruct the recounted memory. Following an introduction in Section 1, Section 2 examined how intervening recall affects visual detail memory and whether these effects change across time. Intervening recall interfered with visual detail memory in the short term, but enhanced it in the long term, suggesting that intervening recall has multiple effects on visual detail memory, which change over time. Section 3 showed that memory enhancement from intervening recall can generalize across memory attributes to source memory, supporting the idea that intervening recall can enhance memory as long as fruitful retrieval occurs for the attribute. In addition, there is a positive relationship between what occurs during recounting and subsequent memory performance, raising the possibility that greater fruitful retrieval leads to greater memory enhancement later on. Section 4 examined the usefulness of one’s memory recall for listeners. It demonstrated that whereas objects are easy to describe from perception, one’s verbal recall of what was seen minutes before is almost useless to third parties. This low utility of one’s verbal recall constrains theories about the extension of our memories to the external world and highlights the importance of looking to more informative and reliable sources of information, particularly in higher stakes situations such as during criminal investigations. Overall, this dissertation demonstrates that the way recounting affects memory depends on many factors. Furthermore, while recounting a memory can benefit the describer, such benefits do not necessarily extend to the listener, suggesting that recounting plays different roles for the describer and the listener.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. 2019. Major: Psychology. Advisor: Yuhong Jiang. 1 computer file (PDF); 179 pages.
Recounting a Memory: How it Changes Visual Memory and How Useful it is for Others.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.