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PSYCO104 Study Guide - Theft, Space Shuttle Challenger, Convenience Store

Course Code
Geoff Hollis

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Standard Model of Memory
o Working memory vs. Long-term
o Sensory Memory
Sense receptors stay activated for a brief duration after they have
stopped receiving stimulation. This lingering activity is referred to as
sensory memory.
o Sperling (1960) How much information is available via iconic memory?
o Participants were briefly flashed a grid of letters, and then had
to report as may letters as they could remember seeing.
o Participants can correctly recall 4.5/12letters on average
Why aren’t people seeing all 12?
o Theory 1:
Iconic memory (visual sensory memory) is degrading and note
entirely reliable
o Theory 2:
Iconic memory only lasts for so long, it fades too quickly.

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o Sperling (1960)
o Participants would be briefly presented with a grid of 12
letters. Then, an auditory response cue would be presented.
Participants would then have to report what they had been
visually presented with.
o Response cues are one of three tones (high, mid, low), each
tone would mean they would have to report a specific row.
o Theory 1: You should only get a couple because much of it will
be degraded
o Theory 2: People should be able to report a whole row
o We see a combination of both theories
o Participants were able to report 3.3/4 of the letters,
irrespective of which row they are cued to respond for.
o Participants are seeing an average of 82% of the total numbers
presented. However they only report 4.5/12 of the total letters
because iconic memory decays quicker than the letters can be
o Sperling (1960) How quickly does iconic memory fade?
o Similar to last experiment
o Similar to last experiment, plus additional manipulation: tone
occurs between zero seconds and 1.0 second after the letters
are flashed.
o They remembered less as more time passed
Working Memory
o “Short term memory”
o Holds the knowledge we are currently aware of
o Properties:
Limited Capacity
Content easily lost if not attended to

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o Memory is associative:
When one memory is linked to another, the second becomes easier to
recall when the first is brought to mind.
o If we group pieces of knowledge together into a larger unit, each of the
individual pieces will be easier to remember
Short-term Forgetting: Brown-Peterson Paradigm
o Information presented just before a distraction tends to be forgotten easily
(ex: people’s names)
o Murdock (1961)
o Participants were presented with a set of stimuli to remember,
followed by a number. Participants would have to count
backwards from the number for a period of time, and then try
to remember the original stimuli.
o 1) Original stimuli were three consonants, three words, or a
single word.
o 2) Participants had to recall the stimuli after a day of 3-18
o Proves short-term forgetting
Support for Trace Delay
o The previous experiments were presented as support for decay in short term
memory; despite not overloading participants’ short-term memory capacity,
knowledge is systematically lost over time.
o Two types of interference are relevant:
Retroactive Interference
o When new information impairs our ability to recall old info
Proactive Interference
o When old information impairs our ability to acquire new info
Why not Interference?
o Why isn’t the case that counting backwards retroactively interferes with
remembering letters and words?
Reinterpreting Brown-Peterson Results
o Keppel and Underwood (1962) noted that participants demonstrated almost
no forgetting on the first trial. However, performance degraded on
subsequent trials.
o Perhaps stimuli from early trials are proactively interfering with later trials?
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