CGSC 2001 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Cocktail Party, Autobiographical Memory, Hyperthymesia

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Week 2 Tuesday January 13, 2015
Early Research in Human Information Processing
Why is Selection Necessary?
Hyperthymesia: possessing and extremely detailed autobiographical memory
oCan remember all events related to one’s own life
Often have poor recall of arbitrary information
oNegative consequences
Impaired cognition
“Haunted” by certain memories
Obsessive compulsive disorders
In contrast when we recall information we reconstruct it according to what we are in the
o“the purpose of memory is about adapting and looking into the future as much as into
the past”
Tunnel vision
oCocktail party phenomena
Evolutionary benefits to forgetting information
Information Processing
Miller’s Magic Number 7:
oOne of the most cited papers in psychology
oExplores the limitations of human information processing
oSenses are information channels with limited capacity AKA channel capacity
oInformation channels: a medium that transmits information from a sender to a receiver
oExperiment: assigned numbers to tones, presented tones to subjects, who were then
asked to assign the correct number
When the sequence is only one or two tones long, subjects never make mistakes
Performance deteriorates when presented with six or more tones in a sequence
oAbsolute judgement:
Humans are limited in the “absolute judgements” they can make
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