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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY100H1
Professor
Ashley Waggoner Denton
Semester
Fall

Description
Attention & Memory Memory: the nervous system’s capacity to acquire and retain usable skills and knowledge, allowing organisms to benefit from experience • Our memories are often incomplete, biased and distorted • We tend to remember personally relevant information Visual Attention is Selective and Serial • Anne Treisman- we automatically identify “primitive” features, such as colour, shape, orientation, movement • Parallel processing allows us to process information from different visual features at the same time by focusing on targets over distractors (Visual Search Tasks) • Conjunction task: searching for 2 features (blue square) is serial (you need to look at the stimuli one at a time) and effortful (takes longer and requires more attention) Auditory Attention Allows Selective Listening • E.C Cherry- Cocktail Party Phenomenon • You can focus on a single conversation at a party, but then your attention can shift all of a sudden if you here your name or gossip in another conversation • Developed selective-listening studies to examine what happens to unattended info when people pay attention to one task • Shadowing: participant receives messages in both ears, required to repeat/shadow only one • Person usually notices unattended info, won’t know content unless personally relevant info or if louder etc. (Unattended info still processed to some extent) Selective Attention Can Operate at Multiple Stages of Processing • Donald Broadbent- Filter Theory • Explains selective nature of attention • We have a limited capacity for sensory info, thus only let most important info in • Some stimuli that evoke emotions, one attends to right away because they provide important info about personal threats in enviro • U of T study- threatening faces are prioritized by our attentional system Change Blindness • We are often blind to large changes in our environments because we cannot attend to all visual sensory info • Ex: participant giving direction to stranger, ½ didn’t notice change in stranger as long as same race & sex • we attend only to a limited amount of info, large discrepancies exist between what we believe to see and what we actually see • our attention influences our memory- participant not paying attention to stranger’s features • Change blindness blindness: people’s unawareness that they often do not notice apparently obvious changes in their environment Basic Stages of Memory Information Processing Model (compares memory to a computer) 1. Encoding Phase: info is acquired/ encoded so that it can be stored 2. Storage Phase: retention of encoded representations over time that corresponds to some change in the NS that registers the event 3. Retrieval Phase: the act of recalling or remembering stored information to use it Modal Memory Model- Richard Atkinson & Richard Shiffrin 1. Sensory Memory • Lasts only a fraction of a second • Stored closest to original sensory form • Allows us to experience the world as a continuous stream • George Sperling- first empirical evidence for Sensory Memory • 3 rows of letters flash for 1/20 of a second, 3 different pitches (high pitch= remember top row, med pitch= middle row, etc.), tones displayed at different time intervals after disappearances of letters • Greater the delay between disappearance of letters and tone ↓performance 2. Working Memory/ Short Term Memory • Combines info from different soruces and can work on the information we have in memory • Lasts 20-30 seconds, disappears unless actively thinking about it or rehearsed • Can hold a limited amount of info • Miller- Memory span- limit is 7 plus or minus 2 • Chunking: process of organizing info into meaningful units Baddeley’s working memory system (Figure 7.10, p. 301) 1. Central Executive: control system 2. Phonological Loop: encodes all auditory info (speech, words, numbers) 3. Visuospatial Sketchpad: encodes all visual & spatial info 4. Episodic Buffer: temporary info about oneself, drawing heavily on long-term episodic memory 3. Long Term Memory • Limitless • Overlearning: rehearsing info that you already know pretty well ↑ memory • Distributed practice: material studied in multiple sessions over time ↑memory • Only info that is adaptive to our enviro transferred to LTM Distinction between WM and LTM • Duration & Capacity • Serial Position effect: participants asked to remember long lists of words- better remembering early words or late words, not middle • Primacy effect: better memory for items at beginning of list (LTM) • Recency effect: better memory for most recent items (WM) • Biological level of analysis- case study (HM) • LTM intact, poor WM, can’t transfer info from WM LTM * WM & LTM can be dissociated form each other, but generally highly interdependent Different Long-Term Memory Systems • memory is not just one entity but rather a process that involves several interacting systems Explicit Memory • Graf & Schacter- processes we use to remember info that we can say we know • Cognitive info retrieved in explicit memory= declarative memory, knowledge that can be declared • Explicit memory can be divided into 2 categories: 1. Episodic Memory: based on person’s past experiences and includes info about the time and place their experiencth occurred Ex: remembering aspects of 14 birthday, what you had for breakfast 2. Semantic Memory: knowledge of facts independent of personal experience, might not remember where we learned it but we know it (what Jello is, capitals of countries we’ve never visited) * distinction b/t episodic & semantic- British children, semantic memory intact, poor episodic memory Implicit Memory • Memories without awareness of them, can’t put into words, do it automatically without deliberate effort (driving car, riding bike, catching ball) • Classical conditioning, advertising, all involve implicit memory (constant exposure to brand names buy brand name b/c ‘remember’ ads for that brand • Implicit attitude formation can affect our beliefs about people • Jacoby- got participants to read a random list of names for pronunciation, 2 days later got them to read the same list to decide whether person was famous or not Results: most participants misjudged the made up names for famous ones, remember reading them from somewhere  implicit memory= must be famous! • Repetition priming: the improvement of identify or processing a stimulus that been experienced previously • Prime participants with list of words (count the letters), later asked to complete blanks for those words, use same primed words participants show implicit memory without explicit recall of words • Procedural memory/motor memory: involves motor skills, behavioural habits Ex: riding bike, see red light stop Prospective Memory: remembering to do something at some time in the future Ex: mom tells you to tell Johnny to tell his mom to call her • involves both automatic (retrieval cue- see Johnny that triggers your memory) and controlled processes (consciously remember to tell Johnny) Long term Storage based on Meaning • memories are stored representations • don’t have picture of dog in head, rather “dog”= mental representation for a category of animals with fur, that bark, etc. Fergus Craik & Robert Lockhart- Level of Processing Model • The more deeply an item is encoded, the more meaning it has and better it will be remembered • Different types of rehearsal lead to different encoding • Maintenance rehearsal- simply repeating the item over and over • Elaborative rehearsal- encodes info in meaningful ways (thinking about it conceptually in a deeper way, relating it to past experiences, linking it to LTM) • Experiment: Words processed at deepest level, based on semantic meaning, remembered the best vs. remembering what word looked like, how it sounded Schemas provide Organizational Framework • Structures in LTM that help us perceive, organize, process and use information • Help us construct new memories by filling in holes within existing memories • Lead us to biased encoding, schemas heavily based on cultural influences Ex: Frederic Bartlett asked British participants to listen to aboriginal folk tale with supernatural experiences, when retelling story, altered it in a way that made sense from their own cultural standpoint, leaving out supernatural experiences Ex: paragraph that didn’t make sense, unless you’re told it’s about laundry laundry schema helps understand how sentences are connected, make sense of paragraph Information is stored in association networks • Allan Collins & Elizabeth Loftus- item’s distinctive features are linked so as to help identify the item • Fire engine- all nodes that represent fire engine features are activated (red, truck, etc.) • Closer the nodes, the stronger the association • Spreading activation: Activating one node, increases likelihood that closely associated nodes will be activated (see fire engine, activate node for other vehicles (ambulance) vs. cat) • Stimuli in WM activate specific nodes in LTM, easier access to this material, facilitating retrieval • Associative network’s overall organization is based on hierarchically structured categories, which provide a clear and explicit blueprint for where to look for needed info Retrieval Cues • Anything that helps a person recall information from memory • Explains why it is easier to recognize than recall info- why MC tests easier Encoding specificity principle (Endel Tulving) • Any stimulus encoded along with an experience can later trigger a memory of that experience • Context dependant memory- participants who learned and were tested on words in same room did better than those in different rooms • Scuba divers, learned and tested in water better
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