PSYCH 1X03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Frederic Bartlett, Hermann Ebbinghaus, Short-Term Memory

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10 Feb 2016
Unit 1: Introduction to Memory
Memory is the fundamental cognitive mechanism, that allows you to encode, store and
retrieve information
Common Memory Metaphors
Memory acts like a video camera which accurately preserves images and audio to be played
back at a later time.
An older idea is to think of memory as a filing cabinet
We create memory files that are stored in an organized folder system which can be later
accessed to remember something
Another popular idea is a computer metaphor of memory, where specialized components are
responsible for handling different memories at different times
Problems with Memory Metaphors
Frederic Bartlett realized that all these metaphors about human memory have something in
Each metaphor provides a useful way of thinking about memory in some regard, in another
important way, they are misleading
Each Metaphor assumes that memory can store experiences in their original, undistorted
form and that memory retrieval is as simple as accessing a previously stored item that
has been kept in a specific place
ex. In terms of Data, it is assumed that stored data is identical to inputted information and
retrieved data is identical to inputted information.Where as memory is, personal details and
interpretations and retrieved memory may be altered or lost
The importance of Cues:
As two friends banter back and forth, one memory triggers another, shaping the flow of the
ex. As Chris tells a funny story about his cute puppy, Greg is reminded of a similar
incident when his dog was an even cuter puppy.
In a sense, like the cue response mechanism studied by behaviourists, one memory acts as
a cue to trigger another memory
Hermann Ebbinghaus defined memory as a serial learning task
cueing is an important concept in encoding specificity, by which encoding and retrieval are
linked through cues
Testing our Hypothesis:
During the encoding phase, a subject learns a list of items, word, or pictures
If a researcher presents the same lost of items to two different groups. She explicitly asks the
experimental group to learn the presented items, while a control group is distracted. Later,
during the retrieval phase, subjects are tested for their memory of the items presenting
during the encoding phase.
Recall and Recognition
During a recall test, a subject is asked to freely generate as many items as she can
During a recognition test, a subject is shown several items and asked to judge whether each
is “new” meaning it was not previously presented, or “old”, meaning it was previously
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