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Lecture 9

BIOL 1F25 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Memory Span, Short-Term Memory


Department
Biological Sciences
Course Code
BIOL 1F25
Professor
Gaynor E Spencer
Lecture
9

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BIOL 1F25
OCT 9TH 2015
LEC 9
Memory and the Human Brain
2 diff. ways of learning:
o1. WHAT the world is about e.g. knowledge of people, places and things
available to consciousness.
EXPLICIT OR DECLARATIVE MEMORY.
o2. HOW to do things e.g. motor skills, and things not available to
consciousness
IMPLICIT OR NON-DECLARATIVE MEMORY.
Hippocampus and learning memory
Hippocampus: area of brain involved in learning that requires a conscious record.
E.g. faces, names (EXPLICIT / DECLARATIVE MEMORY)
Involved in process of acquiring and storing long-term memories.
How does the hippocampus contribute to memory?
o1. Develops map of stored memories.
o2. Maintains a temporary storage
o3. May be used to recall memories- recently made memories are sensitive
to disruption
MEMORY – SHORT VS. LONG TERM
Short- term memory (STM): lasting only mins.
Thought to have a severely limited capacity
Stated to be in the order of 7 items (George Miller, 1956)
Later thought to be even smaller (abt. 4 items [Cowan, 2000])
Memory span is often described as being 7 (+) or (-) 2 (range= 5 to 9) CHUNKS
of info
What can be 1 piece of info is flexible
“Chunking”: 7 units is not a lot- we seem capable of thinking about larger
amounts of knowledge than this
oTaking smaller units of info & grouping them into larger units
An opportunity for chunking = an opportunity for storing larger amounts of info
in STM
ORGANIZING new info might allow better retention
What can guide chunking process?
Prior knowledge
oThe more you know= the easier it is to form chunks
Study by Ericsson et al in 1980
oS.F. into lab for memory tests of STM of digit spans
oInitially- digit span was about 7
oTested for abt. 1.5 yrs. @ end, his digit span was about 80
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