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13. Memory.docx
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 1X03
Professor
T A
Semester
Fall

Description
Memory Introduction to Memory  Explore the world of thoughts, representations and mental processes that make up cognition  Cognitive processes make humans unique sentient beings  Memory: the fundamental cognitive mechanism that allows us to store and retrieve information Common Memory Metaphors  Trying to understand a very abstract and complex system  Memory can act like a video camera (preserves images and audio to be played back at a later time)  Memory as a filing cabinet (create memory files that are stored in an organized folder system which can be accessed to remember something)  Computer metaphor of memory (specialized components responsible for handling different memories at different times) Problems with Mmemory Metaphors  Fredric Bartlett realized that all of these metaphors about human memory have something in common  Each assumes that memory can store experiences in their original, undistorted form & that memory retrieval is as simple as accessing a previously stored item that has been kept in a specific place  Can be misleading  Memory is something we have to construct through  a pile of basic building blocks using raw materials of perception and experience Basics of Memory Types of Questions  Need testable hypotheses  Three types of questions: o Memory aquistion  what will be stored in memory? o Memory storage  how and were will it be stored? o Memory retrieval  how can memories be returned to consciousness? The Importance of Cues  One memory acts as a cue to trigger another memory  Early researchers influenced by behaviorists  early focus of memory research concerned how cues interact with encoding and retrieval mechanisms of memory  Herman Ebbinghaus – operationally defines memory as a serial learning task o Memorized word lists (nonsense words), suggested that each word in the list served as a cue that triggered the memory of the work that followed o Learned words during the encoding phase and later tested his recall ability during the retrieval phase  Used basic encoding and retrieval design to learn about cueing and forgetting memories o Question: how long memories could be maintained  Found that his ability to recall words was highest immediately following learning and that over time he was able to remember fewer and fewer words  “forgetting curve”  describes this increasing rate of memory failure over time  Cueing is an important concept in encoding specificity, a phenomenon by which encoding and retrieval are linked through cues Testing our Hypotheses  Psychologists rely on cognitive models to understand a complex cognitive function like memory  models describe and organize data and make specific, testable prediction that can be studies in controlled experiments in the lab  Memory task involves two phases: o Encoding phase  subject learns a list of items, words, or picture Ex. Same list presented to 2 groups, but only explicitly ask the experimental group to learn the presented items while control group is distracted o Retrieval stage  subjects are tested for their memory of the items presented in the encoding phase Recall & Recognition  Recall test  subject is asked to freely generate as many items as she can remember  Recognition test  subject is shown several items and asked to judge whether each item is “new” (no presented during the encoding phase), or “old” (was presented during the encoding phase)  Both test may show that subjects who are explicitly asked to learn the list of presented items perform better than subjects who are distracted and unexpectedly given a test following exposure to the same list of items Multi-Store Model  Proposed by Atkinsons & Shiffrin in 1968  Model assumes that memory is composed of both short and long-term storage systems  Short-term o Income perceptual information is first stored in a short-term memory buffer (operates in a similar manner to RAM on a computer) o Information in short-term memory is available for online tasks but is not stored permanently  Important info encoded in short-term memory can be transferred to a long-term memory system for permanent storage (similar to how files are saved onto a hard drive) Ex. If items in short-term memory are rehearsed, they may become long- term Early Memory Research George Miller  demonstrated that for most short-term memory tasks, people can remember about 7, plus or minus two items  Any more that that and the demand on short-term memory becomes strained  If rehearsal stops  short-term memory can fade  Discovered that people can re-organize or “chunk” info in meaningful packets allowing more info to be held in short-term memory  Letter groupings that form words pack even more info into a single chunk Ex. Might be able to remember 7 random letters of the alphabet, but you can also remember 7 different names of animals which contain several letters each Memory Experiments  Ability to make testable predictions about how memory works  Should be able to isolate changes by manipulating specific variables associated with memory Serial Position Curve  Memory performance is often best for items early or later in the list and worst for items in the middle of the list  How does the multi-store model of memory explain why memory performance in these tasks depends on the order in which indo is encoded into memory? Primacy  Primacy effect – memory performance is good for items encoded early in the list  According to the multi-store model, the items at the beginning of the list will be the first to enter short-term memory, and have the most opportunity to be rehearsed  have the best chance of being transferred into long-term memory for permanent storage  Items in the middle have less opportunity for rehearsal, less opportunity of being transferred into long-term memory Recenecy  Recency effect – Last several items on the list had the least opportunity for rehearsal and transfer to long term memory, yet recall for later items on the list is also good  According to the multi-store model, all encoded info is first sent to the short-term memory buffer that is limited to hold around 7 items  the newest items replace the oldest items in the short-term memory buffer  As you reach the end of the list, the last 7 items are not replaces by new items and will remain in the short-term memory  Memory performance will be good for the last few items because they are still active in the short-tem memory stage syst
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