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Lecture 4

PSY270H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Mental Calculation, Sketchpad, Interference Theory

Course Code
Christine Burton

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PSY270 – Cognitive Psychology
Lecture 4 – Short-Term Memory Jan. 27, 15
Todays Goal
Introduce different components of the classic multi-store model of memory
Describe the structure and processing of STM
Introduce Baddeley’s WM model
Describe ways of measuring WM capacity
Key Themes
1. Structure vs. Function
Structure: what can we put in memory
Function: how does it work?
2. Serial vs. Parallel Processing
Once information is in memory, can we retrieve it serially? Or parallel?
3. Modular vs. Domain general Processing
In this class we focus more on Modular view
4. Connection between memory and attention
If you don’t pay attention to something, it is less likely you’ll remember it later
What do we Want to Know About Memory?
Memory researchers are concerned with the type of things our memory can hold
Memory researchers are concerned with the limiting factors of memory
oCapacities and limitations
Memory researchers are concerned with the processes that allow information to enter and exit
oHow do we encode item into memory? How do we store items into memory? How do we
retrieve these memories?
Declarative Memory
Atkinson-Shiffrin (1968) multi-store (modal) model
oEach stores holds information for a period of time sensory memory, short-term
memory, and long-term memory
oThese stores are connected by control processes (transfers info between stores, and
maintains within stores)
Structural, Serial, Modular
Sensory Memory Review
A limited capacity store that holds basic sensory information for a very limited amount of time
We have a different store for each of our senses
oBasic sensory information, and there are separate stores for each memory
oProcess is attention  used to transfer information from sensory to short-term memory
oCapacity was 9-12 items (duration is 150ms)
Attention helps pass items in sensory store on to short-term memory
Short-term memory (STM)
A limited capacity store that holds information for a relatively brief period
Limiting factors of STM
Without rehearsal the duration of STM is only a few seconds (~20-30 s)
When we can rehearse, duration can be longer

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PSY270 – Cognitive Psychology
Lecture 4 – Short-Term Memory Jan. 27, 15
Rehearsal keeps information in STM and helps pass it on to long-term memory
George Miller proposed the “Magical Number 7±2” is the capacity of STM
oEach ‘slot’ can hold one item
oWe possibly hold information in the 7 +/- 2 slots. We can only fit a certain amount of
oWe can hold more than 7 numbers or letters in short term number.
oSo, what can we fit into each slot? What makes something an item?
It is easier to recall because acronyms are meaningful units in LTM
STM can hold 7 +/- 2 meaningful chunks
We chunk information that makes sense to us
Structure of STM (how is information encoded into STM)?
Memorizing phone numbers compared English to others
oEnglish can remember more compared to other speakers of other language
oOn average, each number has 1 syllable per number, whereas more than 1 syllabus per
oSpan is bigger for languages that have fewer syllabus for digits
Number of digits can be read in a second
oEnglish speakers can say 4 numbers per seconds, Arabic speakers say about 2 per second
oThe more items you can say per second, the more items you can remember
Short-term memory span is smaller for rhyming lists (even though info presented visually)
oInformation in STM is stored acousticallyphonological similarity effect*
Experiment 2:
Listen carefully to the list of words, at the end of the list, when I say “go”, write down as many
words from the list as you can remember
There will be 6-word-lists, the procedure is the same for all lists
obear, racket, cabinet, pump, whistle
oFactory, pro, minister, prior
oPolice hat motor football violin
oCeiling dog avenue furniture axial beam diamond
oOfficer master graduate institute moth hair fabric prime lawn
oTelescope yhawt oven rust tear register pineapple
Data Collection
How many languages do you speak fluently (you can carry on a conversation comfortably)?
Only for those who speak English as a second language, at what age did you learn English?
Some experiment design questions
What was the independent variable in this experiment?
oList length (5 word list, 15 word list)
oNumber of languages spoken
What is the dependent variable in this experiment?
oNumber of words recalled
Was this a between-subject or within-subject design?
oWithin subject – everyone heard the same lists at the same time
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