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PSYC 2650 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Anterograde Amnesia, Asteroid Family, World War Ii

Course Code
PSYC 2650
Karl Hennig
Study Guide

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Episodic memory: remembering parts of one’s life; autobiographical memory; particular thing that
happened at a particular time
o Recalling memories from a specific time
Semantic memory: things you are aware of; based on knowledge, not personal experience
Herman Ebbinghaus
o Wrote “On Memory” in 1885
o At the time introspection was the normal method of study
o The way he studied memory was not popular; ahead of his time
o Pioneer in the study of memory
o Before Ebbinghaus people started with formed ideas and looked backwards to find the
o He studied how memory developed
o Was able to bring many variables under scientific control
o E studied how memory developed by introducing something the subject knew noting about
and developed the memory from scratch; controlled the exposure to the memory
o Resembles how learning was studied by behaviourists
Ebbinghaus and Experimental Control
o To-Be-Remembered Stimuli
No prior experience with the memory
Meaningless; with no semantic associations to avoid the use of memory strategies to
help the individual remember/ make associations
Non-Sense Syllables: consonant-vowel-consonant
Pronounceable but not a known word (experiments were conducted in German)
o Independent Variables
Retention Interval: time interval over which the subject has to remember the
Longer retention intervals are bad for memory because memory fades with
List Length
More thing to remember have a negative result on memory
Extended Practice (over learning)
Serial Order
Being exposed to a memory in a certain order leads to the expectation that
when exposed to the memory again, it will be shows in the same order
o Dependent Variable
Retention savings
Example Ebbinghaus Experiment
o Study list of nonsense syllables
o Measure study time for 2 perfect recitation
o Independent variable: retention interval (ranging from 20min to 31 days)
o Relearn list after retention interval and re-measure study time for two perfect recitations
o Measure how much time it took to remember something perfectly
o Study time in the second occasion would be shorter
o Calculating Retention Savings: savings= study time before RI study time after RI
Study time before RI
o Retention interval 20min
Study time before RI= 1000 sec
Study time after RI= 400 sec
Savings= ](1000-400)/1000]x 100 = 60%

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Ebbinghaus Forgetting Function
o Function that captures retention interval as the independent variable (x axis) and retention
as the dependent variable (y axis)
o Memory decay is not a linear function
o Rapidly loss of information, then asymptotes
o 30% savings measure: after 30% retention, we remember that information for an extended
period of time (long term memory)
Extended Practice
o After learning the list until two perfect recitals, recite list 30 more times
o Using a 24 hour retention interval, his savings in relearning this overlearned list was 64%
compared to the 34% from normal learning
o Overlearning has almost doubles retention savings
Serial Order
o Strength of the association between adjacent items on the list
o Direction of associations: forward and backwards
o Forward association: expectation of what comes afterwards
o Backwards association: expectation of what comes before
o Ex: track listing on a CD
o Example list: MEV, GOR, DUX
Forward association: would presenting MEV evoke GOR?
Backward association: would presenting GOR evoke MEV?
o Experiment:
Learned 3 lists of 8 stimuli
Then relearned each list under different conditions
Same order, reversed order, random order
o If forward associations exist, then savings on relearning the same list would be greater than
savings for a random list
o If backward associations exist, then savings on relearning the reversed list would be greater
than savings for a random list
o Results: forward and backward associations both exist, but forward associations are
Same: 33%
Reversed: 12%
Random: 0%
Strengths in Ebbinhaus’ Approach
o Meticulous selection of stimuli
o Defining relevant independent variables
o Innovative dependent measures to measure strength of memory traces
Problems with Ebbinhaus’ Approach
o Some non-sense syllables may have meaning (eg. Dux= ducks)
o He used himself has a subject
o Representativeness? : can he be considered a representation of the population?
o Expertise? : did he have too much experience with the subject?
o Bias? : did his own opinions reflect the results of his experiment?
Ebbinhaus’ Contributions to Cognitive Psychology of Memory
o Encoding
Extended practice
List length
o Storage
Forward and backward associations
o Retrieval

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Retention interval
Memory Encoding
Factors that affect whether something gets stored in the Long Term Memory
Primacy effect is because of quantity of rehearsal, what about quality?
Elaboration: something more creative that just repeating information to yourself
o Quality of practice is important for memory encoding
o Involves embellishing a to-be-remembered item with additional information
o If memory is embellished with other qualities, it is easier to remember
o Building on memory trace makes it easier to remember because an interconnected series of
memories can help to trace back and activate the original memory
o Task: remember simple sentences like “The doctor hated the lawyer”
Two study conditions
Elaborative: generate an elaboration “because of the malpractice suit”
Control: just read and study the sentence
Memory test: complete the sentence
Cued recall: finishing the sentence; cue to allow participant to remember the
rest of the phrase
Free recall: no cue to encourage the recollection of the memory
Results: recall of the elaboration might lead to recall of the work when word would
otherwise not be recalled
Elaborative: 72% recall
Control: 57% recall
o Embellishment has to be done by the participant for it to have the effect
o Self generating the embellishment increases the chance of remembering the information
o Meaningful Elaboration: deep, meaningful processing of to-be-remembered information
leads to a better memory than shallow processing
Not all elaborative encoding is equal; meaningful elaboration is more successful
Levels of processing (studied at U of T)
Deep level of processing: really have to associate semantic value to the information
Task: read pairs of associated words
Two types of associations: semantic vs. rhymes
Results: 81% semantic recall and 70% rhyme recall
Nature of the association is different
Shallow associations like rhyming don’t include any semantic meaning or relevance
o Self Reference:
Test: kind, rigid, brave, selfish
Does this word have an e? (shallow processing)
Does this word describe you? (deep processing)
o In the shallow processing, words don’t necessarily commit to memory because it doesn’t go
through enough processing
o Deep processing requires more processing
Intention: commitment to trying to remember and encode information
o Test: subjects saw a list of 24 words at 3 words per second
Two task conditions:
Deep: rate pleasantness of the word
Shallow: check for “e” or “g” in the word
Two learning conditions
Intentional: you will be given a memory test
Incidental: naïve about memory test
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