Topic 6 - Memory and Cognition.doc

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University of Toronto St. George

Topic 6 Memory and Cognition Everything in the brain is the same but these psychological processes are also all similar in many ways because fundamentally each is a set of neural processes organized in interconnected networks of neurons that have fired together many times in the past Using your memory more effectively is effectively what you do when you learnCan understanding memory help us learn more effectivelyEffective Encoding and RehearsalMnemonicsmultiple Retrieval CuesOverlearningDistributed PracticeCraikLockhart LTM storage is based on MEANING we do not file our memories under some sort of code system like old library card stacksInstead we store memories based on meaningful associations and nonassociationsThe more ways in which you think about the material the deeper your processing will be and the more easily you will remember the material laterThe levelsofprocessing principleWays to think about the material would include asking questions such asCan I think of similar concepts in another subject areaHow do these apply to meWhat experiences do I have that are related to this information Memories should not be viewed separate connections it is an overlap of neural connections stored based on meaning which means to make more connectionsThe LevelsofProcessing PrincipleThe levelsofprocessing principle states that the ease with which we can retrieve a memory depends on the number and types of associations that we form with that memorySuperficial processingsimply repeating the material that you are trying to memorizeDeeper processingthe processing of meaning rather than simply the physical or sensory features of a stimulusAlso notes the associations between the items or parts of the materialNote deeper levels of processinggreater amounts of neural activity ie learning a new name use it right away just make 2 or 3 connections then it will be cemented to you thus you will have multiple cues brain works through making multiple connectionsComparing Encoding strategies The more meaning the better Elaborate encodingbetter retentionRehearsal of Encoded MemoriesMaintenance RehearsalRote repetition of material in order to maintain its availability in memoryElaborative RehearsalAssociation of new information with already stored knowledge and analysis of the new information to make it memorableOver learning and distributed practice Even once youve learned something keep learning ityoull remember it better Cramming has a costbest study practice is to study bits at a time spread out over multiple sessionsBest learning strategyMultiple sessions distributed over time with as many exposures to the material as possibleencoding the material deeply not only definitions but multiple facets interconnections to other concepts stories personal relevance etcetcorganizesummarize material draw mindwebs or hierarchies or whatever works for youforces you to deeply process material Think about in as many angles as you can building neuron nets how many neurotransmitters are dumped on the synapses more times they are activated the more stronger they become Studying with someone then you are actively processing infoBest learning strategyMake material memorable personally relevant vivid anecdotes or examplesUse mnemonics when appropriate eg acronyms give retrieval cuesTry and simplify infoMnemonicsEvery Good Boy Deserves FudgeEat All Delicious Guppies Before EelsAdvertisements use melody rhyme etc to make their products memorableLestoilWe even encode cultural wisdom in mnemonics through catchy sayings an apple a day Doesnt give them all the info but help them think a certain way they can learn to connect that infoRetrieval Cues Provide Access to LongTerm Storage Retrieval cues help access information which is why recognition is easier than recall The encoding specificity principle states any stimulus encoded with an experience can become a trigger Eg Smith et al 197880 wordssame room49 diff35The room is part of your neural activation Anything that helps people access information from longterm memory is known as a retrieval cueRetrieval cues help us sort through the vast amount of data stored in LTM to identify the right information The power of retrieval cues explains why it is easier to recognize than to recall information For example What is the capital of VermontYou probably had to spend a moment or two thinking about this even if you could retrieve the correct answer Now consider the question Is the capital of Vermont Concord Montpelier or Pierre Most people find it easier now to remember that Montpelier is Vermonts capital Seeing the word helps you to retrieve specific information that allows you to answer the questionENCODING SPECIFICITY Almost anything can be a retrieval cue from the smell of turkey to a favorite song from high school to walking into a familiar building Encountering these sorts of stimuli often triggers unintended memories According to psychologist Endel Tulvings encoding specificity principle any stimulus that is encoded along with an experience can later trigger the memory of the experience In an interesting study with provocative findings Steven Smith and his colleagues had students study 80 words in one of two different rooms The rooms differed in a number of ways including size location and scent in the room The studentswere then tested for recall either in the room in which they studied or the other room When the study and test sessions were held in the same room students recalled about 49 words correctly
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