PYB102 – Week Eight Revision
Processes of Memory
Encoding – putting information into the memory
Storage – maintaining the information in memory
Retrieval – being able to retrieve and use this information from memory
The Role of Attention
Cherry’s (1953) cocktail party phenomenon:
We can focus on just one conversation whilst a multitude of conversations are taking place
But when we hear our name being said in another conversation, we automatically pick up on
it and pay attention
Broadbent (1958) furthers this with ideas of filtering. Believes we may actually be listening to all
conversations on some level and filtering out the unimportant information. Therefore, when a name
or something specific is said, it grabs our attention.
Assumes we can listen to parallel conversations (multiple at once)
This filtering prevents the overload of the system beyond its limits – i.e. too much
information to handle at once
Levels of Processing (Craik and Lockhart 1972)
The amount and type of attention determines the quality of encoding. There are two types of
rehearsal that aid in remembering:
Maintenance rehearsal: Rote repetition of information, without transformation into a
deeper and more meaningful code. Not the best way to encode for later recall.
Elaborative rehearsal: meaningful understanding of information. Better way to encode
Other Means of Enriching Encoding
Visual Imagery: concrete items recalled better than abstract items. For example, clown better
remembered than honesty.
Dual-coding theory (Paivio 1969): semantic and visual codes together aid in memory. E.g.
when remembering a person’s name, link something about their appearance to help with
remembering who they are later.
Self-Referent Encoding: Applying the information processed to oneself. For example, linking
information to personal experiences in order to make sense of it.
Atkinson and Shiffrin Modal Model
Memory is made up three different information stores:
Sensory Memory: lasting a fraction of a second. An example of this is seeing the image
written by sparklers at night time before the light fades.
Short-Term Memory: Retains information for longer but may still forget it once it is not
needed or no longer paid attention to.
Long-Term Memory: Information is retained because it has been rehearsed over and over.
Short term and long term memory work together in order to build memory stores. Iconic Memory – Sperling’s Study (1960)
50ms presentation of matrices to the participant.
Whole Report Category: Typical recollection was about 4 to 5 of the 12 letters.
Partial Category Report: With brief delay – perfect accuracy. But with a delay of greater
than one second, the accuracy of memory was reduced to about 50%.
Short Term Memory
There is a saying that the magic number for remembering things is 7 and then plus or minus
2. This is typically why phones numbers are kept to around 8 digits or so.
However, when there are more letters