Reconstructive Memory

Explicit recall of events from the past is usually not reliable. There is no one place in the brain in which a specific visual storage trace of an event is kept since the brain uses several interdependent mental functions. Instead, recall is contingent on makeshift mechanisms at the time of encryption that may easily skew or otherwise corrupt the data stored in optical storage.

What is Reconstructive Memory?

In rebuilding visual storage, the encoded as well as stored data is complemented by pre-existing data in the form of models. Constructive visual storage is a mechanism that works by recording not only the sequences of seen physical qualities but also the interpretative conceptual and linguistic functions resulting from the new data. This way, the experience's many elements must be woven into a unified whole. An optical storage fault may occur if this binding procedure fails. Recalling some events from visual storage might be difficult due to their intricacy. Because of this complexity, people are vulnerable to errors in visual storage, such as false memories. Rebuilding surgery processes are used to fill in the blanks of episodic visual storage with other bits of data and mental schema, creating a full and much more coherent picture. Retrieving a specific episode often fails due to a wide variety of possible errors. First, the search algorithm could fail if the person cannot form a detailed definition of the distinctive traits of the visual storage they wish to recover. Second, the cues to start the quest for an episode synopsis may be comparable to other experience-based memories.

Theories Of Reconstructive Memory

Major theories are −

Theory of Schema − Based on the ideas of associative learning, Piaget's thesis suggested a new way of thinking about schema. Integration, according to Piaget, is the act of making meaning of fresh and unexpected material by drawing on prior knowledge. Piaget identified a second thinking activity, which he called accommodation, that allowed for incorporating new knowledge into visual storage by adapting previous schematic structures to suit fresh notions. According to Piaget, individuals need to engage in both assimilation and lodging to construct meaningful mental models of the world as well as to build on these models by incorporating previous knowledge into their understanding of new data.

Confirmation Bias Theory − Individuals utilize their schematic understanding to fill in the blanks during the recall of episodic memories; however, they often do so in a way that incorporates components of their ideas, ethical principles, as well as personal viewpoint, resulting in a wilful misinterpretation of the actual event. Individuals suffering from groupthink tend to be overconfident in their perceptions and hold their views tenaciously in the presence of confirmatory data.

Bartlett Theory − Frederic Bartlett exposed attendees to unfamiliar foreign folk stories for his initial study on the rebuilding surgery essence of visual storage. After telling the narrative, he gave the listeners a series of visual storage and summary tests to see how well they would do when telling it to one's angry listener. His research revealed that people could give a basic overview of the tale but had trouble remembering the details; their accounts were smaller, and they had been tricked into leaving out or reconciling parts of the initial article that were unaware or conflicted with the respondents' blueprint awareness.

Applications of Reconstructive Memory

It includes −


Anxiety is strongly linked to exposure to crime scenes, defined as mental anguish or unease brought on by dread. An examination of genuine eyewitnesses to violent crimes revealed that their memories were intact even five years afterward. Eyewitness accounts of violent or distressing crimes often claim that their visual storages of the events are more vivid than those of other crimes. This is why it is often said that an eyewitness's visual storage is an instance of bright flash visual storage. Attendees in one study saw either a violent or nonviolent crime film in any case.

In contrast to those who saw the less tense video, those who saw the violent movie had a harder time recalling the specifics of the incident. Some details may not be well recalled under stress, as shown in research in which patients who had suffered an electrical shock performed worse on face recognition tests. For example, due to the weaponry focus, witnesses to traumatic incidents involving firearms may have a more difficult time identifying suspects. Researchers have shown that the visual storage of flashbulbs may be heightened by the visual storage of sensory details unrelated to the original experience. Because of this clarity, eyewitness accounts may have more faith in their visual storage than is warranted.


Schemas that are not as well−developed or sophisticated as those of a similar race may need to be used when reconstructing the face of someone of a different race. Individuals are more likely to be able to tell members of their race apart from those of other ethnicities. A phenomenon is known as the inter effect. The root of the impact is unclear, although there are two popular hypotheses. The visual competence theory suggests that individuals become adept at recognizing members of their race because they spend so much time in the company of others of their ethnicity or culture. The in-group benefit hypothesis is an additional major framework. Researchers have discovered that individuals are more able to recognize the feelings of those in their in−group compared to those in their out−group.


After data has been encoded and kept in visual storage, we often require additional hints before accessing those memories. Visual storage is essential to the process of visual storage rebuilding. Depending on how they are used, visual storage may help or hurt the reliability of visual storage recall. The act of remembering is the most ubiquitous kind of recalling cue linked to visual storage recall. This technique uses rational frameworks, incomplete visual storages, narratives, or hints to locate the sought−after visual storage, which is known as reconstructive memory. However, klaxon remembering and stimulation might make the recall process less reliable.