Complete Evidence-Based Essay

Consistent with Psychology’s claim to be a scientific discipline, arguments for or against any
proposition should be made by presenting and interpreting relevant empirical evidence rather
than by appeal to authority, emotion, or individual experience. You are probably exposed
daily to arguments about psychological phenomena which claim to be scientifically-based. In
order to assist your development of critical thinking and communication skills with respect to
such arguments, we ask that you research and construct such an argument yourself on the
question of the reliability of human memory. Of course we all know that human memory is not
perfect – that we do forget things. But when we do succeed in remembering something, can
we trust the accuracy of our memory? This is the topic of this semester’s PSYC1020 essay:
Is human memory for the details of past events reliably accurate? Present and
interpret experimental research evidence arguing for or against the reliability
of memory.
This assignment will allow you to explore this topic in somewhat greater depth than we are
able to treat most content in this introductory course. You will begin to access the primary
research literature, and to interpret this from the critical perspectives you are gaining from
lecture, text, and tutorial materials. You should begin by reading the relevant parts of out text
book on “false memories”, on pages 292-298, and then reading at least one of the references
listed below. It may be helpful to watch Elizabeth Loftus giving an overview of some of her
work in a 2013 TED talk, which you can find online for yourself. But please note that you
need to base your essay on the actual published primary research journal articles, rather than
on any reviews or summaries of this information.
For your essay, you will need to choose, present, and interpret relevant evidence from
two experimental studies published in peer-reviewed journals. You should choose
from one of the studies listed below as one of your sources, and find and choose one
other relevant reference on your own. Suggestions for how to do this will be made in
the tutorials.
From whatever peer-reviewed, published experimental studies you choose to include in your
essay, use the ideas and evidence in them to construct and to back up your arguments.
Some of those references will include reference lists at the backs of the papers; you are
encouraged to consult those lists, as well as other search processes, to find more on your
topic. Tutorials will assist you in developing your skills for finding, evaluating, and reporting
In assessing your essay, we will look most carefully at the following:
1. How well you have set out and addressed the specific thesis statement you pose.
This is not simply a matter of writing within the general topic area, but of clearly and
persuasively addressing the specific thesis statement you have put forward in your
introductory paragraph. There are a number of possible thesis statements which
could legitimately be advanced. You need to construct just one good thesis
statement and build your evidence-based argument around it. Tutorials will assist
you in learning how to do this. To help see that you get off on a good track, you will
have the opportunity to turn in (by 4 September) and receive feedback (approximately
18 September) on your introductory paragraph before completing the full essay.
2. Your use of material from the readings to back up your arguments. Please be sure to
support everything you say with materials from the readings. Be sure to distinguish
between anecdotal evidence and research findings; anecdotal evidence is fine to
illustrate a point, but you need research findings to properly make an evidence-based
argument. For example, the following sentence is well-backed up with research
evidence: “Researchers believe that knowledge is inborn because Johnson and
Morton (1995) have shown that babies prefer to look at human faces from birth.” The
following sentence is backed up with anecdotal evidence: “I believe that knowledge is
inborn because my sister’s baby daughter recognised her mother’s voice at birth.”
The following sentence is not backed up at all: “It is well known that knowledge is
3. The appropriateness of your conclusions with respect to the evidence presented
relevant to your thesis statement, and acknowledgement of any limitations in the
argument or evidence.
Your essay will be marked by your tutor (that is, the tutor who teaches the tutorial you are
signed on to in MySi-net) with respect to the marking criteria which will be discussed in
tutorials (especially the week 5 tutorial introducing the essay assignment). More
information on all aspects how to research and write your essay will be given in
You must include references to two research articles in peer-reviewed journals.
You should use one of the articles below as one of the studies presented and
discussed in your essay, and you should find and choose a second relevant
research study published in a peer-reviewed journal as your second source of
evidence. It is not recommended that you include more than these two
sources of evidence as that would reduce your ability to describe and interpret
the two studies in appropriate detail within your word limit.
Loftus. E.F. & Palmer, J.C. (1974), Reconstruction and automobile destruction. An example of
the interaction between language and memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal
Behavior, 13, 585-589.
Morgan, C.A., Southwick, S., Steffian, G., Hazlett, G., & Loftus, E.F.(2013) Misinformation can
influence memory for recently experienced, highly stressful events. International Journal of
Law and Psychiatry. 36, 11-17.
Zhu, B., Chen, C., Loftus, E.F., He, Q., Chen, Lei, X., Lin, L. & Dong, Q. (2012) Brief
Exposure to Misinformation Can Lead to Long-Term False Memories. Applied Cognitive
Psychology. 26, 301-307.
Either of the above are appropriate to use in your essay. For more general
background (but not sufficient detail to use in your essay), see pages 292 – 298 of our
course textbook (corresponds to pages 328-334 of the previous edition) , or Laney &
Loftus (2013).
Laney, C., & Loftus, E.F. (2013) Recent advances in false memory research. South
African Journal of Psychology 43(2), 137-146.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Complete Evidence-Based Essay
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

and taste our undisputed quality.