PSY270H1 Lecture Notes - Object Permanence, Baddeley'S Model Of Working Memory, Iconic Memory
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Sensory Memory, STM & WM 10/14/2012 7:37:00 PM
1. What is memory?
2. Sensory memory
5. WM and the brain
Atkinson & Shriffron’s modal model of memory (1968)
1. What is memory?
Memory is the process involved in retaining, retrieving, and using
information about stimuli, images, events, ideas and skills after the
original information is no longer present.
It is important for dealing with day-to-day events, and cases such
as Clive Wearing’s illustrate the important of memory in normal
2. Sensory memory = fraction of a second
Atkinson & Shiffron’s modal model of memory consists of 3
structural features – sensory memory, STM, and LTM. Another
feature of the model is control processes such as rehearsal and
o E.g. Sparkler light being moved = perception of a trail of light
= persistence of vision
Sperling’s experiment on visual sensory memory: flashing an array
of letters on the screen for half a second.
o He used two methods, whole report and partial report, to
determine the capacity and time course of visual sensory
The duration of visual sensory memory (iconic
memory) is less than 1 second, and of auditory
sensory memory (echoic memory) is about 2-4
3. Shot term memory (STM) - 5-7 items, for 15-20 seconds
Short-term memory is our window on the present.
Brown & Peterson determined that the duration of STM is about 15-
20 seconds. They interpreted the short duration of STM as being
caused by decay, but a later reanalysis of their data indicated it was
due to proactive interference.
o Interference that occurs when information that was learned
previously interferes with learning new information.
(Old info>New info)
The capacity of STM is 5-8 items, as measured by digit span. This
capacity can be expanded by chunking, so that it is possible to
remember 5-8 chunks rather than 5-8 digits.
o Examples of chunking are the memory performance of the
runner S.F, and how chess masters use their knowledge of
chess to remember chess piece positions.
Coding refers to the way information is represented. Information
can be coded in STM in terms of sound (auditory coding), vision
(visual coding), and meaning (semantic coding).
o Auditory coding was illustrated by Conrad’s experiment that
analyzed the type of errors made in memory for letters.
o Visual coding was illustrated by Zhang and Simon’s
experiment with Chinese characters