Evaluation Of Everyday Memory Research

We can draw up a balance sheet indicating the advantages and limitations of much everyday memory research. However, bear in mind that most everyday memory research has been carried out in the laboratory, and so does not differ hugely from more traditional memory research. The following are some of its major advantages:

• Important, non-obvious phenomena have been discovered, thus enriching the study of human memory.

• There is often more direct applicability to everyday life.

• The functions served by memory in our lives are considered.

• It provides a test-bed for memory theories based on laboratory research.

The following are some of major potential limitations of everyday memory research:

• There is often poor experimental control, especially of the learning stage.

• The accuracy of everyday memories often cannot be assessed, because there is incomplete knowledge of the circumstances in which learning occurred.

• Some topics of research (e.g., flashbulb memories; the self-reference effect) have produced relatively few new theoretical insights.

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