PSY 105 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Amygdala, Substantia Nigra, Basal Ganglia
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Memory- recall past events and past learning; 3 basic activities…
1) Encoding: recording of information in brain *requires attention- focus or notice information in first place
2) Storage: retention of information for later use (retaining memories over the long term)
3) Retrieval: recovery of information when we need it
Sensory Memory (quick copy of sensory data we have just received) Capacity- Large -info not transferred is lost
-The entryway (or register) of memory
-Accurately but briefly registers sensory or sound information before it fades or moves onto short-term memory
-Includes 2 subsystem for: Iconic- fast-decaying store of visual information (1/2 sec) and echoic- a fast-decaying store of
auditory information (2-4 sec)
Short-term Memory (STM): a place where information is kept for a few seconds but less than a minute (up to 30 seconds)
*Working memory. Capacity: 5-9 items (limited) -info not transferred is lost
-Rehearsal: process of keeping information in short-term memory by mentally repeating it
-Capacity of STM: George Miller believed the capacity of STM was 7 plus or minus 2.
-Chunking: allows more information to be managed in STM by combining small pieces of information into larger cluster or
chunks that are more easily held in short-term memory
Long-term Memory (LTM): hold all info we previously gathered, available for retrieval and use in new situation or task
-Information acquired during an experience that guides present thought and action.
-Spacing effect: encoding of material through rehearsal situations spread out over time (studying over a period of time)
-There are multiple forms of long-term memory that differ in the brain structures supporting them. 2 general LTM categories:
explicit and implicit.
-Explicit memory: (declarative) information that is consciously recollected, such as facts, ideas, or events. (ex. date of birth)
-Implicit memory: (nondeclarative) influence of past experiences on later behaviour and performance although people are not
trying to recollect them. Memory person is not consciously aware of; ex. learned motor behaviour, skills + habits.
A number of forms of implicit memory: classical conditioning, procedural, & priming.
* Ex. look up a persons email, sensory memory records email and passes it to working memory which concentrates and repeats email,
it eventually drops out of working memory unless it is passed on to long-term memory – (capacity is unlimited)
Brain structures on implicit memory
-Classical conditioning of fear: amygdala (its central nucleus)
* Conditioned responses to conditioned stimuli (ex. phobias)
-Procedural memory: basal ganglia, substantia nigra and cerebellum
* Motor skills and habits (ex. how to drive a car, brush your teeth and ride a bike)
-Priming: cerebral cortex
* Earlier exposure facilitates retrieval (ex. heightened fears after reading a scary novel).
* Activation of one piece of info, which in turn leads to activation of another piece and ultimately to the retrieval of specific
Impaired implicit memory
-Damage to amygdala impairs conditioning of fear
-Damage to basal ganglia (striatum) or substantia nigra impairs procedural memory. Ex. Huntington’s disease + Parkinson’s
-Damage to cerebral cortex impairs priming.
Ex. patients M.S. failed to show visual priming after occipital lobe surgery, which took out a little part of cerebral cortex.
Cannot do priming but can do everything else. They showed a list of words and in the next lab they asked to fill out the
words that had blanks but MS was not able to fill out the words according to the words he saw in the previous lab.
- Striatum stores implicit memory
-Conscious, intentional recollection of event or an item of information
-2 forms: Episodic (collection of past personal experiences and events occurring at a particular time/place) & Semantic
(network of facts and concepts making up our general knowledge of world)
-Examples of episodic memories: personal experience remembered in its temporal relation to other such experiences; “I
remember I got a A+ on last psychology test”
-Examples of sematic memories: do not refer to personally experienced unique episodes but instead are facts or concepts; “I
know the answer is the hippocampus plays a role in memory”
Hippocampus and forming new explicit LTM
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