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Lecture 1

PSC 130 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Computer Data Storage, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Positron Emission Tomography

Course Code
PSC 130

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January 10, 2017
I. Chapter 1: Introduction
A. Why Study Memory?
1. Improve your memory
2. Determine the limitations of human memory
3. Understand and treat memory disorders
4. Understand complex human behavior (practice,
language, learning)
B. How is Memory Studied?
1. Behavioral Studies
a. Examine the effects of experimental variables on
memory performance (e.g. Ebbinghaus, Memory, 1885)
i. Determine the functional nature of memory
b. How fast do we forget?
i. By 19 minutes, we retain only 60%, by 1 hour, it’s 50%
c. Ebbinghaus’ major contributions:
i. Rely on objective measurement
ii. Control the experimental stimuli
iii. Use statistics to assess results
d. Limitations? He only tested himself as the subject
e. Neurobiology? He didn’t tell about the brain’s circuitry
f. Ex: Clive Wearing, a herpes encephalitis patient
i. He had very severe case of amnesia: < 30 second memory
ii. He could only have recall of the present; only recognized
his wife
2. Neuropsychological Studies
a. Examine the effects of brain damage on memory
performance (e.g., Brenda Milner, Patient HM,
1957 suffered many seizures from severe
i. Evidence for distinct cognitive functions
ii. Determine which brain regions are necessary
for memory
b. Limitations: network (usually individual case
studies), large lesions, patient confounds
3. Neuroimaging Studies
a. Examine the neural correlates of memory
using methods such as Positron Emission
Tomography (PET), Functional Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Event Related
Potentials (ERP)
i. Evidence for distinct cognitive functions
ii. Determine which brain regions are
involved in memory
b. Limitations: correlational, temporal/spatial
sensitivity….alternative methods…
i. “Correlations are evil” / misleading
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