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Midterm 2

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Western University
Psychology 2135A/B
Patrick Brown

Chapter 5 Long Term Memory 12-11-04 6:00 PM A World In Which Everything Is Always The Same - image three different kinds of possible worlds: 1. a world in which everything is always the same o everything is systematic the weather is always the same prey animals are always predictable in number at the watering hole stranger always act the same way on meeting 2. a world in which everything is random o everything is always different the weather is never predictable prey animals might suddenly become predators the next stranger is completely unlike the last one 3. a world which is partly systematic and partly random o its usually warmer in July than in March but this changes in ice ages o prey animals usually run but in rutting season a moose is dangerous o most people are good but some change after bad experiences In Which World Would Memory Be Useful? - in a completely systematic world, learning would be unnecessary what you need to know could be stored in DNA - in a completely random world, learning would be pointless no present experience would help you in future because everything would be different then - memory would be useful in a partially systematic and partially random world the world would not be so consistent as that knowledge could be stored over the lifetime of the species but it would be worth storing experience for the lifetime of the individual Is There Such A Thing As Memory? - no one has ever seen a memory - but if we suppose that there is such a thing, then human and animal behavior becomes more predictable and explainable The Standard Model - Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) - emphasizes processes by which information is transferred from STM to LTM - control processes, include rehearsal, coding, and imagery - one empirically-testable claim the model made is that learning increases as a function of the number of times a stimulus is rehearsed Evidence for the Standard Model Rehearsal - remember: cognitive psychology is an empirical discipline we evaluate theories by testing their predictions against actual data from experiments - Rundus (1971) presented lists of words in a recall test participants rehearsed the words out loud, in any way they wanted Rundus (1971) Results - relation between the average probability of recall and the average number of rehearsals as a function of a words serial position - recall probability is clearly a function of # of rehearsals as the standard model predicted (except in the recency portion of the curve) The Standard Model - control processes are examples of metacognition thinking about thinking this includes knowing when and how to use various strategies, such as rehearsal - control processes can affect stages of memory including acquisition, retention and retrieval Acquisition - as a student, you should monitor how your success in learning varies with the acquisition strategies you use eg., with decisions about how to study or how long to study What Do We Know About Acquisition Studies? - evaluating strategies requires judgments of learning have you learned the material? The accuracy of your decision is a function of when you make it immediately after studying or after a delay - judgments of knowing made immediately after studying are too optimistic because the material may still be in STM it seems available - decisions must also be made about how long to study for based on judgments of how easy it is to learn something, and time available Retention - what you know about retention of memories will influence your control strategies - what you know about retention of memories might be based on your experience learning and retrieving but this might be misleading (eg., if retention interval changes) Retention Theory - what you know about retention of memories might be based on a theory knowledge gained in this or a similar course, in which research on memory is presented - Herman Ebbinghaus did the first modern, scientific studies of memory he served as his only participant, and published his results in 1885 - Ebbinghaus documented the forgetting curve in this case, for forgetting nonsense syllables - Harry Bahrick (1984): tested older people on their recall of Spanish vocabulary learned in high school many years later large portions of the originally acquired information remained accessible for over 50 years in spite of the fact that it was not used or rehearsed - an important determiner of whether material will be retained is the interval between learning and retrieval What Do We Know About Retention Strategies? - Koriat et al. (2004) task: learn a list of paired associates (eg., chair nutmeg) tested immediately, one day, or one week later - Experiment 1: peoples estimates of how much they would be abke to recall based on experience - Koriat et al. (2004) then asked a different group to estimate how much the first group would be able to recall - Experiment 2: estimates of how much other people would be able to recall based on theory - note the accuracy of recall estimates based on theory, rather than experience Retrieval - according to the standard model, we also use control processes to guide retrieval - for example, we have to form a plan for retrieval we might use associates of the item were searching to memory for Applications of What We Know - society is interested in how well memory works and in how we can make it work better - the reliability of memory is an issue in court case, where decisions affect lives in significant ways - society pays a lot of money to put information in students heads when they lose that information, societys money has been wasted - commercials provide consumers information about products if consumers don't remember that information, commerce is less efficient than it might be Forgetting - why do we forget? Historically, two answers have been offered o Decay o Interference - the decay model is the default position the obvious starting point but it fails to account for interference effects
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