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Oct 14, 2023



Background: Deep (or elaborative) processing involves making the information you`re trying to learn meaningful to you, and is part of constructivist learning theory. It can overlap with what`s called "self-referential processing" (or self-referential encoding), in which memories for which information is relevant to can be easily "mapped" onto the self are made more durable. With any luck, you`ve already experienced both of these processes through the reflection exercises in this course. We`ll now attempt to leverage both of these concepts to help you scaffold your learning *about* memory onto your own experiences and sense of self.

Purpose: Using a "mindmap," apply memory terms and concepts (such as encoding and retrieval) and memory strategies (such as deep processing and elaborative rehearsal) to explore the construction of your own identity. Analyze how these memories were encoded and stored to practice "elaborative rehearsal" with the concepts and terms from this lesson.

This assessment will also serve to verify your identity in this course. You will submit a photo of your student ID or state-issued ID along with this assignment. You can cover your address, ID number, or other identifying information with a post it note or sticker, but your face and name should be clear. This identification verification process is required to pass the course, and is in lieu of an in-person or virtually proctored exam.


I. Sketch out, either in writing via a list, or by drawing on a piece of paper, some of the experiences and memories that you feel make up the core of your identity. These experiences could be general (say, your favorite hobby or sport), specific (the day you moved away from your hometown, or a favorite item from childhood), or a mix of the two (an annual family or cultural tradition). There`s no way or need to be exhaustive here, but shoot for a list of 6 that you feel represent you well, in all your many facets. Think of Riley`s core memories that help make up her "islands of personality" in Inside Out.

II. Make a mind map of your 6 experiences. You can do this digitally for free via (we`ve included a different kind of mindmap example using mindmeister below), or if you`d prefer, you can simply draw one, labeling each memory, and then upload a picture of your drawing. Just make sure the photo or screenshot and your handwriting is legible and all labels can be easily read by your instructor. Follow these steps:

1. Start your mindmap with your first name and "Identity" in the center bubble. Your "identity" is the complete (but concise) description of who you are and what you`re like, including your social roles.

2. Add to the center bubble another 6 bubbles, each with a memory or experience.

3. Then, consider the memory concepts we`ve studied in this lesson, such as encoding, storage, retrieval, interference, mood-congruent or state-dependent memory, effortful vs. automatic encoding, imagination, nodes, schemas, assimilation, accommodation, etc. Scan this article for other helpful terms (such as episodic memory and working memory), and this article for concepts specific to autobiographical memories (such as peak-end rule, collective memory, emotion and memory, and the "reminiscence bump.") Beside each memory bubble, list or connect the memory terms that you can associate with or identify within that memory - is it collective? Did it involve semantic or deep processing? Did it contribute to a schema?

III. Finally, choose one of your memories and record a brief (1-3 minute video) of yourself explaining that memory`s developmental pathway and then briefly reflecting on its impact on your identity. Make sure you use at least 3 different memory concepts or terms correctly.

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