Lecture 6: Encoding
In focus: Declarative memory & episodic memory
3 Phases of Memory:
1) Encoding – info. First registered
2) Consolidation – info. is being ACTIVELY retained, gradual process, dynamic changes at a
neural level to memory. Memory building takes time.
3) Retrieval – utilising the info., eg. Trying to remember something. Not retrieving the original
memory A reconstruction of the memory is what you experience (your best guess to what
What you end up remembering is determined at the time of encoding.
Depends on what sorts of things are you doing with that info.
Processing during encoding is IMPORTANT.
One method of processing objects well: Method of Loci
o Associating what you see with different spatial locations
Determined on whether you’re actually attending to the info. How you’re thinking about the info.
(ELABORATIVE PROCESSING) what you’re doing with the information.
Lack of attention to the info: “Sin of absentmindedness”
Improve memory by PAYING ATTENTION MORE.
Procedural memory: Not paying attention to activity as it becomes automated.
Our attentional capacity is limited. We can’t pay attention to everything at the same time.
Change blindness shows how our capacity to remain attentive to something is extremely
limited. We can’t remember everything at once.
Divided attention experiment Determines whether a particular mental operation requires
a lot of attention.
o Primary task: Try to encode or retrieve some set of information. Eg. Person is asked
to remember a set of words.
o Secondary task: A second task that you have to perform concurrently and that
consumes attention. (Occurs at the same time as the primary task. Aim is to drain
away attention from primary task).
Low Processing load = simple task that does not require much attention. Eg.
Placing cards facing away from you in a line.
High processing load = Requires more attentional resources, so when it is
given, memory performance should be lower. Eg. Organising a deck of cards
o Experiment answers Q: Does both encoding and retrieval require attention? During a high processing load task, encoding performance is much lower
than when a person is encoding info. whilst performing a low processing
load task. Thus encoding depends on attention.
Whether you’re doing a high/low processing load secondary task, attention
does NOT affect memory recall (retrieval. (results are the same for both)
Successful encoding depends on how you process the information:
o Hermann Ebbinghause:
o Rote serial recall – Just repated nonsense syllables over and over again until he ould
recit them from memory.