Lecture 6: Memory
Sensation and Perception across Time
Stage Model: Encoding and Storage
• Sensory Memory (Register)
o Ionic and Echoic memory
o Transfer to STM
o Internal and External Triggers
• Short-term Memory (STM)
o Working memory
o 7 +/- 2
o Evaluation of information
• Long-term memory (LTM)
Memory is essentially a way of storing our sensations and perceptions. This allows us to
encounter our world, but not re-experiencing everything every time.
o Initial encounter
o Filtering process
o Storage process
o Retrieval process
The first stage is referred to as Sensory memory.
Manipulation/filtration of memory is known as the short term memory.
Long term memory refers to our storage and retrieval process.
Sensory Register: External events provide information for sensory organs.
Background “noise” Foreground “information”
Internal Trigger External Trigger
desensitized stimuli Motivated and aroused to Selective attention to
forgotten within perceive certain informatiochanges in the environment
seconds Arousal stimuli Stimuli arousal
Not registered or Registered and transferred to STM
transferred to STM
**Final exam information: 72** • The sensory register has a time limit, and if we don’t process the information
quick enough, we will forget it.
o Iconic (visual) memory
o Echoic (sound) memory
- Sensory memory is only truly effective if you use either the
internal or external triggers.
Short Term Memory
• Not usually information that can be retained for long periods of time
o i.e.: remembering a phone number
• Helps to filter information that needs to be stored vs. information that doesn’t.
• Has a 7 unit (plus or minus 2) storage capacity.
o We are able to increase the capacity by associating the information we are
trying to retain with long-term memory.
• i.e.: XNBCPHSSATCBSX associate with things you know;
- x NBC (TV station) PHD (graduate degree) SAT
(Saturday) CBS (TV station) x
- This process is known as chunking, and can only be
effective with previous knowledge. i.e.: if you never knew
of CBS or NBC, this chunking would be ineffective.
- Because of long term memories, it makes it easier to
understand various topics (i.e.: student vs. psych prof.
reading new information from a psych textbook).
• In short term memory, more effort needs to be exerted in order to make this
process effective. This is why it is called “working memory”.
• Disequilibration motivates us to remember information (i.e.: unknown phone
• Theoretically permanent
• Despite the fact that we cannot always retrieve the information, triggers will bring
the memories back.
• The more you have stored in LTM, the more you can store in LTM.
o The greater schematic structure you have, the more you can bring in by
associations (allowing you to have no need to start from the ground up
o Alzheimer’s patients generally have long term memories still stored
(information that has been stored for a long time), but they are unable to
keep new information. They have periods where they cannot remember
obvious and necessary information, and can flip back to being lucid and normal. In order to help them access information, patients are generally
surrounded by memorabilia from their lives to help as triggers.
• Virtually everything you know is stored in LTM. (i.e.: the kitchen example)
• Not only do you know what you know, you also know what you don’t know:
• The instant something comes into short term memory, your LTM is able to tell
you whether or not you knew it already.
Sensory: temporary storage of sensory info. High capacity. Less than a few seconds of
STM: brief storage of info currently being used. Limited capacity. Less than 20 seconds
LTM: relatively permanent storage of info. Unlimited capacity. Long or permanent
Information that passes through an intentional gate is transferred to short term memory.
Information subjected to elaborative rehearsal or deep processing is transferred to long
Sensory Memory; the senses momentarily register in amazing detail.
Encoding; a few items are both noticed and encoded.
Storage; some items are altered or lost.
Retrieval; depending on interference, retrieval cues, and moods/motives, some things get
retrieved and some don’t. How can we improve studying?
• Be motivated
o Arousal and attention
Being exhausted while studying is not as effective as being well rested while
Coffee can help, but all things in moderation!! Small amounts of caffeine
delays burn of energy, and increases memory arousal. Too much caffeine will
o Performance standards and positive reinforcement
“As soon as I finish x # of hours of studying, I will do [positive thing].”
Don’t make the reinforcement negative.
A well balanced diet, rather than junk food only, helps to improve memory. The
only food with marginal evidence to helping memory retention is bananas.
Take regular exercise breaks.
• Spend “smart” time not “long” time
o Distributed sessions
Better off to do small study sessions with breaks in between.
o Create surprises
Don’t study similar subjects back to back.
Create disequilibration to help motivate yourself.
o Personalise the material
Relate material to something you will remember (i.e.: Francis Galton [1822-
1911] and the Eugenics The Rock Group). By doing this, it makes the info more
entertaining and memorable, along with the fact that by doing this before
actually reading the information you will be preparing yourself to enter
• Learn to teach