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Suggestion and Memory

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On 1 August 1984, Ronald Cotton was arrested for sexual assault and was convicted in January 1985 on two counts of rape and one count of burglary based upon the eyewitness testimony of the victim, Jennifer Thompson. He was sentenced to life plus 54 years; however, in 1994, Cotton was exonerated based upon subsequent DNA testing that demonstrated that Cotton's DNA was not that of the assailant.

1) What is the most important information one can learned about memory when reviewing this particular case of Ronald Cotton and his accuser?

2) What was the most interesting thing involving memory?

3) Why is it that an eyewitness is especially likely to make mistaken identification when the suspect's ethnicity differs from their own?

4) Do you think that happen in this case that it was due to (mistaken identification)? Why or why not

5) In a program of research nearly four decades Elizabeth Loftus and her colleagues have shown that memories are influence by the way in which questions are put to eyewitness and suggestive comments made during an interrogation or interview.

How does the research done by Elizabeth Loftus name the Power of Suggestion may have affected Jennifer Thompson testimony?

Use scholarly sources to support your answers. Cite your sources using APA format.

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1) One of the most interesting things that can be learned about memory when reviewing this case, is the fact that memory can be heavily influenced by the suggestion of law-enforcement, prosecutors, and other individuals that are in authority. In addition, influences, such as repeatedly placing the pictures of particular suspects on each and every page of a document, containing pictures of various aspects, can also heavily influence an individual's memory.

2) The most interesting thing involving memory in this case, is the fact that the more that an individual is told what they should actually remember, the more an individual's memory is shaped by these outside influences. It was amazing how the power of suggestion is ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes the detrimental impact that suggestion can have on memory.

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adult learner and memory capability and skills

Here are descriptions of some memory techniques.

Learning for understanding

Concepts that are foundational to the study of academic subjects, like evolution or democracy,
are complex and cannot be memorized. Students need a lot of experience with information
about these concepts in order to understand them. An instructor may assume that students understand
the concepts contained in material they are teaching because students can correctly answer
multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions related to the material. But, in many cases, these
exercises can be done without understanding the concepts because statements can be found in
the text that match the questions. Students may also seem to understand many concepts because
they come to school with strong (and largely functional) ideas about how the world works.
But sometimes the sequence of logic that results from applying what they know factually to more
theoretical and complex knowledge creates false conclusions.

For example, adults know that animals must eat to live, and that plants need water and soil to
live, so they may conclude that plants "eat" soil. It may be difficult to explain the concept of
photosynthesis - that plants have a radically different way of getting the energy they need to live
from soil, water, and light.
In addition to the methods mentioned previously (building factual knowledge, direct strategy
instruction, active learning, using examples and analogies), you can build students' knowledge of
concepts by doing the following. Using the example of "democracy":
● Define (1) what the concept is, and (2) what it is not (democracy is not the same as capitalism).
● Give examples of democratic countries (United States, France), and examples of nondemocratic
countries (China, Cuba).
● Have students dissect and sort examples and non-examples by key factors, and come up
with their own examples and non-examples.
● Lead students in a discussion about the factors related to democracy that have been
identified, and prompt them to explain what they mean by asking "Why" questions.
● Have students write about the topic of democracy, both to help them use new vocabulary
presented in text and discussions, and to help them (and you) see if they understand it.
By giving examples, using discussion, asking "Why" questions, and having students work with
the new information, instructors can help them take many separate pieces of information, connect
them in a way that leads to understanding, and remember what the concept means.

Making practice interesting
Practice is vital for learning anything well. But dull, rote practice often turns students off. Some
ideas for making practice more interesting are:
Turn it into a team game - students can practice addition or multiplication by playing a card
game, or practice vocabulary and spelling by playing Scrabble.
Create an assignment that uses computers or has a real-world connection - writing a letter to
a company or political representative, or making a family budget and using a computer to
create a document with a table or graph.
Do five minutes of group drill to fast music.
Teach students to give themselves a reward after practicing for a certain amount of time -
they can watch 30 minutes of TV after studying for 30 minutes.
Have parents practice basic skills - like the alphabet, counting, addition and multiplication
tables - with their school-age children.
Some information and facts simply have to be memorized, and students should be made aware
of this. On the other hand, not everything has to be memorized. For example, only one-half of the
multiplication table needs to be memorized - a student who knows 4 x 6 = 24 should also know
that 6 x 4 = 24. Memorization is very important, but it should be used judiciously

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