PSYC 352 Final: Memory Development

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7 Sep 2020
Department
Course
MEMORY DEVELOPMENT
Long-Term Memory
Two people suffering from different types of amnesia and experience dissociation
o Can remember facts like who the current PM is, but doesn’t remember personal details
like what they ate for dinner last night or their best friend from high school
o Can remember personal details and can learn how to do new things like ride a bike, but
can’t remember new people or conversations
Declarative/explicit: memory for facts and event; consciously available
o What you typically think about when you think of memory
o Semantic memory: knowledge of facts
o Episodic memory: knowledge of events
Non-declarative/implicit: memory for procedures, skills, associations; not consciously available
o Procedural knowledge: motor/cognitive skills i.e. balancing on bike
o Conditioning: classical and operant conditioning
LTM consists of a number of sub-components
o Some components available to conscious awareness, some not
o Different components rely on different brain structures and cognitive abilities
Memory Development in Infancy
More difficult to study what their memories are and how long they last since they lack abilities
for verbal response
Habituation/dishabituation
o Dishabituation shows infant both remembered old stimulus and recognized second
stimulus was different/novel
Preference for novelty (or familiarity)
o Two possible reactions that both show kids have evidence for a particular stimulus
Infants will look longer at new stimulus than they will at one they recognize
When memory traces strong
Infants will look longer at stimulus they recognize
When memory traces weak
o Courage & Howe (2001) study
Score over .5 means they looked longer at new stimulus
When new stimulus presented after a short period (1 minute) they preferred
it but preferred old stimulus after a month
If memory strong they prefer novel stimulus, but prefer old stimulus if
memory weakens
o Reasoning that infants want to maximize amount of information they can get
If memory for something strong, makes sense to look at new thing and see what
information you can gather about it, see if it’s important
If memory for something weak, makes sense to spend energy to re-encode that
object so you don’t lose that memory trace
^Top two don’t rely on abilities to verbally ask infants what they remember, allowing us to infer
infants’ memories from behaviour
Conjugate-reinforcement procedure
o Useful to examine whether infants can retain a memory over a long period of time
Memories for things reinforced/established through conditioning
o Rovee-Collier (1999) mobile task
Ribbon tied to ankle, mobile above baby so if they kicked/moved leg, mobile
would move with them, conditioned over several minutes
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Wanted to know if infants would remember this when they brought them in a few
weeks later
Brought them in a week later, this time ribbon not attached to mobile so it
wouldn’t move no matter how much baby moved
Compared infants previously been conditioned to those who weren’t
Even 3-month-olds could retain this conditioned memory up to 2 weeks
As they aged, able to retain information for even longer
Gradual increase in length of time infants able to remember
information between 2-3.5 months
Deferred imitation task
o Tracks ability of an infant or child to imitate a previously witnessed action following a
time delay
o A special way of studying memory development because it lets us test on both implicit
and explicit memories
Watch experimenter act our behaviours they’d never seen before on item, then
given item, see what they do with the object
If remembered seeing experimenter, they should act out actions experimenters
did, showing they remembered that information to engage in intentional
behaviour sequence
Neuro-maturational model
o Brain regions involved in memory develop significantly during infancy
Changes in structure and function in brain regions help understand how memory
improves with age
o Hippocampus; dentate gyrus (episodic memory)
Develops from infancy through adolescence
o Frontal cortex (declarative memories)
Slow developing in childhood
o As changes in these regions occur, there are implications for infants’ abilities to encode
and remember information
Infantile amnesia: phenomenon whereby most people cannot remember autobiographical
memories from infancy and early childhood
o Adults encode memories linguistically
Infants lack language ability, infant memories may be incompatible with adult
thought
o Fuzzy trace theory
Young children encode memories verbatim, more vulnerable to forgetting
Older children/adults encode gist memories
Why we remember more from 8-10 years than 3-5 years
Hypnotic age regression: uses hypnosis to revert adults back to childlike state to generate “lost”
childhood memories
o Often people who undergo hypnosis really do report they remember more childhood
memories but thinking you remember something doesn’t mean it necessarily happened
o Elizabeth Loftus successfully implanted false memories that 5-year-olds got lost in mall
in around 25% of participants
o Criticized for leading to development of potentially false memories
o Typically thought to be poor method for getting adults to recall real events that happened
in childhood
Infants show an early-emerging ability to acquire and retain long-term memories
o Ability to make and recall these memories increases with age and brain maturation
o Many of these memories inaccessible to adults due to infantile amnesia
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