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CHAPTER 7 Attention and Memory Part I

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Wagner Denton

CHAPTER 7 Attention & Memory: Part I Attention  In order for something to potentially be remembered, it must be attended to in the first place  Attention is selective o It has to be selective because it is limited o Selective attention is adaptive o Change blindness: the common failure for people to notice large changes in their environment Examples of Selective Attention  Visual search tasks o Searching for one feature is fast and automatic (parallel processing)  The target will “pop out” at you. Ex. Blue circle o Searching for two (or more) features is slow and effortful (serial processing)  Must examine each target one-by-one. Ex. Orange square  Does matter how many features  Selective listening o The cocktail party phenomenon. Certain things will grab our attention (our name) o Shadowing: A person listens to two different messages (one presented to the left ear, and one to the right) and only attends to one of the messages (by repeating it aloud)  Generally have no conscious knowledge about the information being presented to the other (unattended) ear. Models of Memory  The information processing model: o Encoding phase: Information is acquired and processed into a neural code that the brain can use o Storage phase: The retention of encoded information (whether it is for a second or a lifetime) o Retrieval phase: Recalling or remembering the stored information when we need it  The modal memory model: o Sensory memory: Memory for sensory information that lasts only a fraction of a second. We are not usually even aware of it. o Short-term or Working memory: Memory that will remain for only about 20- 30 seconds, unless you actively think about or rehearse it. E.g., remembering a phone number or license plate o Long-term memory: The relatively permanent storage of information  Differs from working memory in terms of both duration and capacity Working Memory  7 (plus or minus 2) (though some argue for less)  Chunking: Organizing information into meaningful units to make it easier to remember o E.g., KFC CEO UBC PHD UTM (6 units) much easier to remember than KFCCEOUBCPHDUTM (15 units)  The working memory system has 4 components: o Phonological loop: Auditory information o Visuospatial sketchpad: Visual and spatial information o Episodic buffer: Information about oneself o Central executive: Coordinates information between each component as well as long-term memory Working Memory vs. Long-term Memory  Serial position effect: The ability to recall items from a list depend on the order of presentation o Primacy effect: Better memory for items presented at the beginning of the list o Recency effect: Better memory for items presented at the end of the list  Maintenance rehearsal: Simply repeating the item over and over again  Elaborative rehearsal: Involves encoding the information in more meaningful ways
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