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Lecture 9

46-115 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Mental Model, Basal Forebrain, Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

10 pages105 viewsFall 2017

Department
Psychology
Course Code
46-115
Professor
Scott Mattson
Lecture
9

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Introduction to Psychology
Lecture 09: Memory
The Paradox of Memory
- The same mechanisms that serve us well most of the time can cause us problems in
others...and surprisingly poor for others.
- Paradox of memory - our memories are surprisingly good in some situations and
surprisingly poor in others.
- Research shows that our memories are astonishingly accurate.
- Memory is surprisingly malleable
- Memory is reconstructive - we extract the gist to make things easier to remember (but
this may contribute to memory errors)
- When remembering, we actively reconstruct memories, not passively reproduce them
- Field Memory (what you saw, more recent memories, more specific, more “pure”)
- Observer Memory (what an observer would see, more distant memories, more
abstract, more reconstructed)
The Fallibility of Memory
- Increasing evidence indicates that suggestive memory techniques often create
recollections that were never present to begin with.
1. Suggestive memory techniques - procedures that encourage patients to recall
memories that may or may not have taken place
- Memory illusion activity - induce students to misremember hearing (or seeing) the word
sleep, when in fact they didn’t hear (or see) the term
1. Memory illusion - a false but subjectively compelling memory, which is likely a by-
product of our brain’s generally adaptive tendency to go beyond the information it
has at its disposal
2. Illustrates representativeness heuristic from Chapter 3—like goes with like—we
simplify things to make them easier to remember, which can lead to memory
illusions.
- The Reconstructive Nature of Memory
- Our memories frequently fool us and fail us
- Our memories are far more reconstructive than reproductive
- When we try to recall an event, we actively reconstruct our memories
using cues and information available to us
- We don’t passively reproduce our memories
- We should be skeptical of widespread claims (van der Kolk, Britz, Burr,
Sherry, & Hartmann, 1984) that certain vivid memories or even dreams
are exact “photocopies” of past events
- Evidence that our memories are often reconstructive: an observer
memory is a memory in which we see ourselves as an outside observer
would (Nigro & Neisser, 1983), as compared with a field memory, a
memory in which you instead pictured the scene as you would have seen
it through your own eyes
- Research findings contradict popular opinion
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- Surveys indicate that many or most people believe that our memories operate
like video cameras
- About 36% of us believe our brains to contain perfect records of everything we’ve
ever experienced (Alvarez & Brown, 2002).
- Even most psychotherapists agree that everything we learn is permanently
stored in the mind (Loftus & Loftus, 1980; Yapko, 1994)
The Three Systems Model of Memory
- Most psychologists distinguish among three major systems of memory, described by
Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968), which seem to be used for different purposes and differ
along at least two dimensions
1.Span - how much information each system can hold
2.Duration - over how long a period of time that system can hold information
- Distinctions among these three memory systems aren’t always clear-cut, and it is
possible that there are more than three memory systems
- Each differs in terms of spam and
duration
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-Sensory memory - very brief storage of perceptual information; each sense has
its own form
- Iconic (visual) and echoic (auditory) memories
-Short-term memory - limited duration (< 20 seconds) and capacity (the magic
number = 7 ± 2 pieces of information)
- Includes working memory - information
we’re actively processing
- Subject to fast decay and interference (2 types)
a) retroactive inhibition - acquisition of new
info interferes with retention of old
b) proactive inhibition - old info interferes
with acquisition of new info
• Most likely when old and new stimuli are similar
How Can We Aid Our Short Term Memory?
-Chunking - organizing info into meaningful groupings to extend
the span of STM beyond 7 ± 2.
-Rehearsal - repeating info to extend the duration of STM
-Maintenance rehearsal - repeating stimuli in the original
form (e.g., repeating phone number long enough to dial it)
-Elaborative rehearsal - linking stimuli in a meaningful way
(usually more effective and consistent with . . .)
-Levels-of-processing model - the more deeply we transform
info, the better we remember it
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