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PSYC 2650 Lecture Notes - Implicit Memory, Rhinal Cortex, Explicit Memory

Course Code
PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof

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Cognitive Psychology: Chapter 6
Learning as Preparation for Retrieval
- Recall that when we learn, we make connections between the newly acquired material and representations
already in memory
- These connections serve as retrieval paths when we need to remember the new material
What if you can't find the path? How specific do they have to be?
- State-dependent learning new material is most likely to be recalled when the person is in the same mental,
emotional, or biological state as when the material was learned
Being in the same state of mind might help you to retrieve your memories
Same place is also useful for memory recall
- For example, materials learned while on land are best recalled while on land, and materials learned while
underwater are best recalled while underwater
SCUBA gear while underwater, because otherwise they would have drowned
- Context reinstatement, or recreating the context that was present during learning, will improve memory
Fisher & Craik (1977) presented participants with word pairs and asked them to remember the second
word. The first word served as context
The word pairs were either semantically related or rhymed
Ex) Target word is cat
Semantically related first word could be “dog”
Rhymed first word could be “hat”
During testing, the prime words were presented as cues or hints
- Two effects were observed:
Depth of processing effect thinking about meaning at the time of encoding provides an advantage,
compared to thinking about rhyming at encoding
Depth of processing is a more effective way of remembering
Context reinstatement effect having the same kind of context during learning and retrieval provides
an advantage, compared to different kinds of contexts
Remembered the word best if cue matched the means that you used to encode the word
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Encoding Specificity
- Encoding specificity refers to the tendency, when memorizing, to place in memory both the materials to be
learned as well as the context of those materials
“The man lifted the piano.” *context: heavy+
“The man tuned the piano.” *context: music+
- As a result, materials will be recognized as familiar later on only if they appear again in a similar context
Participants’ memory for the piano benefitted from a cue only if the cue was in the same context as
the way it was stored
-- Ex) If I remembered the piano as being an instrument and was cued to remember by someone
telling me it was “heavy”, I would not remember it easily
- Encoding specificity also explains why memory for having seen an ambiguous figure depends on the
interpretation being the same at encoding and retrieval
Encode it as a vase, then test their memory with them thinking of two people kissing, they will not
remember the picture
Different Forms of Memory Testing
- Recall the participant must generate the studied items, often in response to a contextual cue
“What was the name of the restaurant that we went to?”
-- Ex) Essay exam
- Recall requires a search through memory and depends heavily on whether retrieval paths are available
- Recognition the studied items are presented to the participant, who decides whether they were encountered
“Is this the name of the restaurant?”
-- Just have to be able to identify
-- Ex) Multiple choice exam
- If source memory is available, recognition responses are similar in mechanism to recall
“Yes, I saw this word before.”
-- Recalling a specific episode
- In other cases, recognition responses are based on a feeling of familiarity
“This feels familiar, so I must have seen it recently.”
-- No specific episode, just general feeling
-- “I know I've seen that face before, but where?”
- Source memory and familiarity are also distinguishable neuroanatomically (at the time of encoding)
- Participants are asked to make “remember/know” decisions, pressing one button if they recall the episode of
encountering a particular item (“remember”) and another if they have a feeling of familiarity (“know”)
- Activation in the rhinal cortex during encoding predicts later feelings of
familiarity and a “know” response
- Activation in the hippocampus during encoding predicts later source memory
and a “remember” response
We know the hippocampus is involved in encoding new memories
Implicit Memory
- Other ways of testing memory are more indirect
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