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Lecture 10

Thursday, Oct 11/2012 - Lecture 10

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2650
Dan Meegan

Thursday, October 11, 2012 PSYC 2650 Lecture 10 Topics in Memory • Long-term Memory ◦ Episodic memory: include autobiographical memories, includes remembering details, includes remembering episodes of your life and events of your life, remembering particular events that occured in particular points in time ◦ What laboratory methods have been used to study encoding and retrieval ◦ Retrieval is easier than encoding generally Memory Encoding • What are the factors that affect whether something becomes stored in long-term memory? ◦ Elaboration – if you do something more creative than simply rehearsing items straight up you will help memory encoding ◦ Intention – Sometimes intending to remember items helps, other times memories are formed without the intention to remember them ▪ We can remember things that we do not consciously attempt to remember ◦ Implied in previous lectures that the best way to get items from short term memory to long- term memory is by rehearsing them. Those items that were rehearsed more were able to be store better in long-term memory (Primacy effect) ◦ The quantity of rehearsal is not the only player in the memory game, however – the quality of the rehearsal is also important Elaboration • The quality, not just the quantity of practice is important for memory encoding • Elaboration involves embellishing a to-be-remembered item with additional information ◦ Even if the item is small, such as a word or image, if you attempt to embellish the memory trace in some way (ie. New word you haven't heard and you're trying to learn the definition) you can remember the item better (ie. The word might sound like other words you know, or part of the word may be able to be linked to some other form of background knowledge you possess) ◦ Imagine that memory is an interconnected network of topics or subjects ◦ If you build on a memory trace, it increases the ability to recall the item because you have more related items in your memory that are linked to the original item and therefor can trigger the memory of that item • Task: Remember simple sentences like “The doctor hated the lawyer” ◦ Two study conditions: ▪ Elaborative: Instructed the participants to generate an elaboration (ie. “because of the malpractice suit”) ▪ Control: Instructed the participants just to read and study the sentence ◦ Most of us have figured out on our own that elaboration is an effective memory strategy, so how do we know that the control subjects didn't use elaboration as a method to remember the sentence? ▪ We can't really control that participants absolutely do not use elaboration ▪ Even though we cannot guarantee that all the control participants did not use elaboration as a memory method we can still see a difference based on strategy use between our experimental and control groups ▪ We can sometimes mask the fact that the experiment is about memory to avoid participants using particular memory strategies ◦ Memory Test: Complete the sentence “The doctor hated ______________” ▪ If I give you a cue, you have to recall the second half of the sentence, this is called Cued Recall ▪ If you are asked to recall as many items as possible in any order you wish, that is called Free Recall ▪ In the above example, the participants were given cued recall tests • Results: ◦ Elaborative: 72% recall ◦ Control: 57% recall ◦ We try to avoid ceiling effects ▪ Aceiling effect is when the task is so easy that the control group is able to score nearly perfectly, there is no way the experimental group could have scored better ▪ Ceiling effects prevent us from observing the effects we are attempting to study • Conclusion: ◦ Recall of the elaboration might lead to recall of the word when word could otherwise not be recalled. Meaningful Elaboration • Meaningful (deep) processing of to-be-remembered information leads to better memory than shallow processing • Levels of processing has an effect on our ability to encode and later retrieve memories • Not all elaborations are created equal • “The doctor hated the lawyer because of a malpractice suit” is deep processing because it is a logical conclusion considering the meaning of all the portions of the sentence and creating a relevant embellishment • Task: Read pairs of associated words ◦ Two types of association ▪ Sharing a semantic meaning: tulip-flower ▪ Share a rhyme sound: tower-flower ◦ Results ▪ Words that are semantically related to each other showed 81% recall compared to 70% recall for rhyming conditions ▪ In this experiment, the item to be remembered was the same (flower) and clearly demonstrated which cue was more likely to generate effective and reliable recall Self-Reference • Kind, rigid, brave, selfish ◦ Does this word have an “e”? (shallow) ◦ Does this word describe you? (deep) • Performance in the self-reference condition was close to perfect, whereas performance in the shallow processing condition was significantly poorer Intention • Our intuition about intention is that intention is absolutely important ◦ If we tricked participants into thinking the experiment was a word manipulation experiment and then tested their memory, we would expect to find that they would be handicapped for the memory test • Experiment: Subjects saw a list of 24 words at 3 words per second • Two task conditions: ◦ Deep: rate the pleasantness of the words ◦ Shallow: check for “e” or “g” in words • Two learning conditions: ◦ Intentional: You will be given a memory test ◦ Incidental: Not told about the following memory test (felt they were performing only a word judgement task) • Performance is much higher in the rate pleasantness condition than in the check letters condition both for incidental and intentional learning groups • There was no observed effect due to intention in this experiment • Although intention can have a positive effect on memory, the effects are often indirect • When there is intention, there is more likely to be elaboration and the use of other memory strategies • Intention often effects how we behave and how we attempt to remember ◦ When we intend to remember, we access memory strategies that we have to ensure we are doing the best we can to boost our memory • Age effects in participants' memory would complicate the study ◦ Often experimenters use homogenous samples (often of undergraduates) to ensure that memory detriments due to age are controlled for ◦ Assume this group is a homogenous sample of young adults Long-Term Memory Retrieval • Why can't I remember stuff? • Our memory often frustrates us and we blame our long-term memory • What can we do to increase the chance that we can retrieve an item from long-term memory? • Two options ◦ Is it that the memory has been lost or erased? OR ▪ Computer analogy – thought you downloaded a song and then search the hard drive and its been erased ◦ Is it “in there” somewhere, but can't currently retrieve it? ▪ Computer analogy – thought you downloaded a song and search and can't find it, but then later you find it in the trash or another location. It was still there, but wasn't accessible the first time you wanted it. Memories Forgotten but not Lost • Subjects studied twenty number-noun pairs (eg. 43-dog) to some criterion ◦ These are two things that are not naturally associated with each other but that you are asked to make an association between anyways ◦ They don't lend themselves well to most types of memory encoding strategies • Don't have a set amount of time, study the set until you can remember perfectly and perform 2 perfect recitations ◦ Similar to the Ebbinhaus studies • Two weeks later, a memory test is presented (Cued recall) 43-______? • Participants were able to recall 75% of items. The remaining 25% were of interest to the
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