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CHAPTER 7/8 Memory Part II, Thinking & Intelligence

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Wagner Denton

CHAPTER 7: Memory Part II Examples: Context Dependent Memory  Scuba divers learning a list of words either underwater or on land (and then recalling the words either underwater or on land)  Learning a list of words with instrumental background music or white noise (and then recalling the words while the same instrumental music or white noise played)  Revisiting a childhood home or school can bring back a “flood” of memories  Mentally visualizing the encoding environment can also work  Stress can interfere with context –dependent memory The Biology of Memory  Memories are stored in multiple regions of the brain and linked through memory circuits  Different memory systems use different brain regions  Medial temporal lobes: Important for the consolidation of new declarative memories o Responsible for coordinating and strengthening the connections among neurons when something is learned (but not the storage of memories) o E.g., Patient H.M., Clive Wearing o Reconsolidation occurs every time a memory is activated  may differ from the original memory  Hippocampus: Particularly important for spatial memory  memory for the physical environment (location of objects, direction, cognitive maps) o Rats and the Morris Water Maze  Frontal lobes: Crucial for encoding, and involved in many aspects of memory o E.g., Working memory  Amygdala: Memory of emotional events o E.g., People who were in downtown Manhattan on 9/11  Cerebellum: Procedural memory o E.g., Motor learning, eyeblink conditioning  Memory modulators: Neurotransmitters that weaken or enhance memory o E.g., Epinephrine, norepinephrine activity in the amygdala Forgetting  Wouldn’t it be great if you never forgot anything? o Maybe not o Jill Price: The woman who can’t forget  Transience: The pattern of forgetting over time  Most forgetting occurs because of interference: o Proactive Interference: When prior information inhibits the ability to remember new information  E.g., Memory of your old phone number interfering with your ability to remember your new phone number o Retroactive Interference: When new information inhibits the ability to remember old information  E.g., Memory of your current postal code interfering with your ability to remember your old postal code  Blocking: The temporary inability to remember something that is known o The tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon  Absentmindedness: Forgetting due to shallow encoding or failing to pay attention Memory Distortion  Misattribution: Misremembering the time, place, person, or circumstances involved with a memory o E.g., Thinking you told your friend something when you didn’t (you just imagined telling them, or you told another friend)  Suggestibility: Misremembering after being told misleading information o E.g., “How fast were the cars going when they _______ into each other?”  (“Smashed” and “bumped” would create different answers)  False memories can be surprisingly easy to plant o E.g., Remember the time you got lost in the mall? Eye Witness Testimony  Witnessing a Crime  It is very difficult to distinguish an accurate eyewitness from an inaccurate one  Confidence is unrelated to accuracy o Just because someone is very confident in their account of a crime does not mean that they are remembering correctly  People tend to focus on weapons, or actions, not minor details (e.g., clothing, appearance) Summary  Attention determines what is remembered  Memory involves encoding, storage, and retrieval  There are different stages of memory (sensory  short-term  long-term)  There are multiple long-term memory systems (e.g., episodic, semantic, procedural)  Memories are reconstructed every time they are recalled  Memories can be forgotten, distorted, or false CHAPTER 8 Thinking & Intelligence: Part I Thinking & Intelligence  How do we organize and represent knowledge?  How do we use knowledge to solve problems and make decisions?  How do we understand “intelligence”? How do we represent knowledge?  A representation is anything that stands in for, or corresponds to, something else o E.g., a map is a representation of city streets; a portrait is a representation of a person  A mental representation is a hypothetical ‘internal’ cognitive symbol that represents external reality  Cognitive psychologists are interested in understanding cognition – how we think and represent information (our internal mental processes) Types of Mental Representations  Analogical Representations: Mental representations which have some of the characteristics of (i.e., they are analogous to actual objects) o E.g., Portrait of the Queen  Symbolic Representations: Abstract mental representations which do not correspond to the characteristics of actual objects o E.g., “Queen” Analogical Representations  We form mental images of many objects o Such mental images allow us to answer questions about objects that are not in our presence  E.g., How many pillows are typically on your couch at home? o Also allows us to solve problems  E.g., How many people do you think can comfortably fit in your living room? o And we can manipulate these mental images  Mirror-imaging of letters  The farther an object was rotated from its upright position, the longer it took participants to determine whether it was the normal letter, or a mirror image  it took then longer to mentally rotate the image How are these representations organized?  Of course, we do not have mental images (or visual representations) of everything we know o We use symbolic representations (words) to represent much of our knowledge  How is this knowledge organized? o Categorization: The process of grouping things based on shared information o Concept: A mental representation of an object, event, or idea (e.g., “chair”)  Can be divided into smaller groups with more precise labels (e.g., “desk chair”, “arm chair”)  Can also be combined into larger groups with more general labels (e.g., “chair” and “table” are both types of “furniture”)  Basic level categories o Located in the middle of the hierarchy o Are the terms most often used in conversation o Are the easiest to pronounce o Are the level at which prototypes exist o Are the level at which most thinking occurs Organization of Concepts  Defining Attribute Model: Objects are categorized according to a certain set of rules or specific set of features o E.g., “A triangle is a figure having three angles and three sides” o E.g., “A bird is a warm-blooded, feathered, vertebrate, who lays eggs, has wings, and can fly”  Problems with the defining attribute model o We often make exceptions to our rules (e.g., penguins) o Some attributes are mor
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