PSYA01H3 Lecture Notes - Echoic Memory, Long-Term Memory, Sensory Memory
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Psychology Chapter 8 (Lecture 30-34)
Slide 2: Memory we think of is more episodic memory (ex. What did you have for breakfast?), in which
you consciously recreate an image what happened at that time. This is only one of many memory
systems, and should therefore be seen as a multiple instead of singular.
The past experience can be an influence, and memory is reinforcing that influence.
Slide 3: If you start with A+B=3, you decide if it’s true or false and see if that rule you think is followed
throughout. Eventually you get faster and figure out an algorithmic problem solving. A little while later,
you see examples that reappear, and you will then solely rely on memory on the repeating questions.
Slide 4: Memory can be broken down into several systems. Sensory memory- a stimulus from the
environment first comes into contact with this memory.
Slide 5: When a light enters your eyes, you can still see it a little after it’s gone- it’s a trace. Ex: sparkler-
you move a sparkler, you can see the line, the trail, in which the sparkler was moved.
Sensory memory is important when we’re not attending what we are sensing (ex. We listening to music,
we can still see a trace when we return to vision).
Move fast from Slide 6-8, and write what you saw, and pay attention to what happens to your mind. You
generally see around 4-5 letters, even though they saw about all of them before they fade away from a
mind. Full report condition: you report all 9 that you see in a box, and it’s typically 4-5.
Partial report condition: Slide 9-11: You report the letters stated on the row indicated. In most cases,
you got 2-3 of them (an average of 2.5). The logic is that people report an average of 2.5 in any of the
rows, so 7.5 had been available in store, which is more than in the full report. Why is there such
difference? The claim is that it’s about the time and the place. By the time you report on that row, the
rest is fading away.
This technique helps record with reporting conditions, but also the time it takes. Vision seems to last
about a second, which helps us notice something even when we switched attention.
Slide 12: Ex: annoying brother rants beside you, and when you interrupt him, you replay it in your mind
and realize what he was saying. Another example is when you talk with someone, you say ‘what?’, they
say it again, but by then you caught up on what was said before. That’s because your mind still hangs
onto what was said.
When someone reads a set of numbers, see how many you can recall after they say stop. You’d
generally recall the last four numbers from your echoic memory. Your echoic memory lasts about 4
seconds- longer than the visual one, meaning that the sounds, especially speech are seen as more
important. You need more information to process what was said, so you replay the last few things that
Sight and sound memory is the most studied. Taste and smell are more chemical based, and so the
aftertaste last a while before it dissipates. Touch, though, you can still feel a trace, meaning it must have
a memory of it.
Slide 13: Working memory- consciousness thoughts. Ex: See what you think of first at this question- How
high can reach from a camel?
You are retrieving memories in order to see how this can be answered. For a camel you’d maybe recall
the zoo where you saw a camel. You then see the distance from the back of a camel, using
measurements of your own height and the camel’s. It’s therefore called working memory, since you are
applying a variety of resources- memory, and calculations and such. This is the system that allows for
hard algorithmic problem solving. This one is done for problems you haven’t encountered before in
order to figure out a solution.
Slide 14: Digit span test- how many numbers can you remember without taking notes? Listen, and once
you say ‘go’, write down as many as you can. However, the professor left a gap after saying the numbers
and saying go, and how did that affect your memory? Generally, you’d quickly rerun the numbers that
are said so far, but by then you mix up the sequence. This is the articulated work, where you talk to
yourself in the working memory. This is where the short-term memory is also involved. You are
repeating the numbers to yourself to keep it as a short term memory before you can write it down.
‘fragile and capacity limited’- A few words will be read , and you are instructed to sing a song while still
maintaining the words in mind. Then write down the words you remember, but this is more difficult
because you had to use your voice for singing instead of repeating the words to yourself. Your working
memory is prone to interference (ex. You’re counting, someone says a different number, you will mix up
where you were counting).
Momentum is a movie about a guy who has ONLY short term memory, so he has to always focus on his
memory, or else he’ll forget everything when distracted.
The more we mentally devote to something, you will be able to transfer it to long-term memory.
Slide 15: Remember the true and false test earlier, the long-term memory is involved when you pick up
on equations that you met before.
Slide 16: Imagine you are given 15 items, and you are supposed to recall the words. The data is collected
and provides the graph here. The worst recall will be the middle items, but highest on the end. Working
and long-term are closely associated, as you can see in this graph. The recency effect uses the working
memory. The primary effect, which are the first few, are also remembered, because they had a lot of
rehearsal when you were repeating them in your mind- they had a privileged status. This will be led to a
All of our sensory system has a buffer that holds information a little longer to allow us to switch
between the systems and overlap sensory experiences.
Working memory is the beginning of real memory system, but is not the real system. The more you can
hold in your working memory the more successful you are (they are also seen as more intelligent).
For mute people, they use their finger (which they use for signal) to repeat the information, like we do
in our heads.
Slide 17: Working memory is fragile, but how long can information stay and how much of the rehearsal
It’s basically about how much distraction you can handle when rehearsing?
The experiment was to give you string of information that do not make sense to you (as in, you can’t
make relations to the items to make it easier to remember), and also add distractions when you are
remembering them. Ex: words and numbers in a row. If you let the person retell immediately, they can
get about 90% right, but after some time gap the percentage drops. Why does it go out of working
Slide 18: One possibility- decay: where the information just dissipates. However, this one was debated,
because nothing decays.
Conveyor/bouncer notion- when something new comes into the mind, the other one get pushed out.
That’s because there’s a limited space in which the information is held.
There will be a list of items, and there will be many that start with B. Each time a B-word comes, you
have to state the previous B word. The longer the distance is between the B words, the more difficult it
is to recall. If you use the graph, you could see the lines in which the time represents the time that is
passed between the words. If it’s decay over time, then there should be a faster rate over time.
However, the graph doesn’t indicate this, since both take the same rate. Therefore this should support
the conveyor belt theory.
Slide 19: Miller discussed on the capacity of the working memory. He gave the person a list of items, and
asked them to recall them after some times (this is usually an average of seven). The number of items
that is remember is highly correlated to success in life. The working memory system is used to solve
problem, so people who can bring more information in a certain time would therefore be more useful at
So is there a way to exercise that working memory?
Miller emphasized on ‘chunks’. Ex. You have a list of numbers, and they are separated as two chunks in
order to make sense (like they can present a birthday number) instead of seeing them as just a sequence
of numbers. This allows you to hold onto numbers well.
Another example is expert chess players, because they can see the figures in patterns instead of
Slide 2: memory we think of is more episodic memory (ex. ), in which you consciously recreate an image what happened at that time. This is only one of many memory systems, and should therefore be seen as a multiple instead of singular. The past experience can be an influence, and memory is reinforcing that influence. Slide 3: if you start with a+b=3, you decide if it"s true or false and see if that rule you think is followed throughout. Eventually you get faster and figure out an algorithmic problem solving. A little while later, you see examples that reappear, and you will then solely rely on memory on the repeating questions. Slide 4: memory can be broken down into several systems. Sensory memory- a stimulus from the environment first comes into contact with this memory. Slide 5: when a light enters your eyes, you can still see it a little after it"s gone- it"s a trace.