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Psychology 2135A/B Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Anterograde Amnesia, Retrograde Amnesia, Childhood Amnesia

Course Code
Mark Holden
Study Guide

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Chapter 5: Memory
What is memory?
A set of processes that allows us to record and (later) retrieve experiences and information.
Critical for everyday functioning!
3 Basic Processes of Memory: encoding, storage, and retrieval.
What is encoding? What can it be likened to?
Translating information into a neural code that our brain can understand: input process, putting
and translating information from environmental stimuli into our brain. Likened to typing lecture
material into a computer (in mind, information is translated into neural signals).
What is storage? What can it be likened to?
Retaining information over some period of time. Hitting “save” on computer.
What is retrieval?
Pulling information out of storage: output process. Like opening the saved file on your computer.
The Atkinson-Shiffrin Model of Memory
Sketch out the model, labeling each box and arrow
We have three types of memory: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.
They are functionally different (memory for performing an activity vs. remembering a random
fact), although they don’t necessarily respond to specific brain areas.
Sensory memory: allows a complete sensation to linger in memory for a very brief (<2s) period
of time after it has ended.
What is persistence of vision? Give an example.
Lingering of a sensory signal even after the object has disappeared.
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What is apparent motion? How does it relate to persistence of vision?
Illusion of movement = apparent motion; persistence of vision in flipbooks. Our brains “skip
over” the blank portions.
Describe Sperling’s experiment
Aimed to determine how much information sensory memory could hold.
Whole report: showed participants array of
12 letters; asked to report as many letters as
they could from the entire array. Had to try
to remember the whole thing! Only got 4-5
Maybe people forget the rest of the letters
while they are responding, so just report
one row.
No matter which row they were shown,
people usually got 3-4 correct. Sensory
memory is actually a brief memory of
everything they have seen – not just 4-5
Delay tone: since tone didn’t occur
immediately as letter disappeared, accuracy
plummeted because sensory memory only
lasts 1-2 seconds. Just as bad as the whole
reporting condition!
What did his results tell us about the duration of sensory memory?
Sensory memory only lasts 1-2 seconds. As such, accuracy after a delay is much lower.
What did his results tell us about the capacity of sensory memory?
No matter what row was shown, people usually got 3-4 items correct: it is a brief memory of
everything that person has seen.
What are the differences between the echoic and iconic stores?
Visual information = iconic store, complete visual picture (lasts .5s).
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Auditory information = echoic store, everything we just heard (lasts 2s).
Short-Term Memory: what we are currently focused on/thinking about – including information
we are trying to learn/remember and information we’ve remembered & are thinking about.
What is the duration of STM with and without rehearsal?
Duration of item in STM – 20s without rehearsal; rehearsed long enough – goes into LTM.
Describe the Peterson & Peterson (aka Brown-Peterson) task.
Remember 3 letters for some period of time, 3 trials, give 20 seconds to remember next set of
letters. After 3 letters, give number, must count backwards from 3 (i.e. F Z L, 45). With this task,
we cannot adequately rehearse the letters, so memory fades quickly.
What process of forgetting did Peterson & Peterson attribute their results to?
Memory decay: fades away over time (Peterson & Peterson).
When Keppel and Underwood re-analyzed the Peterson & Peterson data, they found that errors
in this task were actually due to what?
Memory interference: poor performance after 18s (compared to good performance in in later
trials likely due to proactive interference – we forget something because something else we know
interferes with our ability to remember.
What is proactive interference?
Something learned in the past interferes with our ability to recall new information (PROactive =
remember old).
What is retroactive interference?
Something learned recently interferes with our ability to recall old information (RRR =
remember recent).
What is the difference between maintenance and elaborative rehearsal? Give an example of each.
Maintenance rehearsal: repeating something over and over; keeps information in STM, but not
good for long-term retention (reading textbook to study).
Elaborative rehearsal: focus on the meaning of something/relate it to other things you already
know; keeps information in STM, and is effective for long-term retention (sits down and thinks
about what they are learning).
What is the capacity of STM?
George Miller’s “magic number”: 7 +/- 2, although recent work has found that the capacity is
about 4 items.
How can “chunking” increase the amount we remember?
Small units combined into larger, meaningful units. Easier to remember.
Describe Chase & Simon’s Chess Expert study. What were the major findings?
Studied chess players’ memory: experts and novices: 5s to encode chess board with ~24 pieces on
it, try to remember the exact positions of pieces. Mid-game arrangement: experts were much
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