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Midterm Review PS102.docx

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Carolyn Ensley

Learning Classical Conditioning -Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus -The process was first described around 1900 by Ivan Pavlov called Pavlonian conditioning Pavlov’s Demonstration: “Psychic Reflexes” -Pavlov was one of those who was responsible for turning psychology from research focusing on subjective accounts of experience, introspection, to a more objective, rigorous, scientific approach -He de-emphasized the mind, and mentalistic accounts of behaviour and showed how learning was under the influence of experience and that “associations could be built up in consciousness” -His experiment was the one that Jim did on Dwight with the altoids in The Office -Based on his insight, he built broad theory of learning that attempted to explain aspects of emotion, temperament, neuroses, and language Terminology and Procedures -The unconditioned stimulus (UCS) is a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning -The unconditioned response (UCR) is an unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning -The conditioned stimulus (CS) is a previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response -The conditioned response (CR) is a learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning -The unconditioned response an conditioned response often consist of the same behaviour, although there may be subtle differences between them -Classically conditioned responses have traditionally been characterized as reflexed and are said to be elicited (drawn forth) because most of them are relatively automatic or involuntary -A trial is classical conditioning consists of any presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli Classical Conditioning in Everyday Life Conditioned Fear and Anxiety -Many irrational fears can be traced back to experiences that involve classical conditioning -Ex. If you cringe when you hear the sound of a dentist’s drill – pain has been paired with the sound of the drill -Everyday conditioning effects are not restricted to negative emotions such as fear Evaluative Conditioning of Attitudes -Evaluative conditioning refers to changes in the liking of a stimulus that result from pairing that stimulus with other positive or negative stimuli -Evaluative conditioning involves the acquisition of likes and dislikes, or preferences through classical conditioning -Ex. Pairing two different brands of root beer with positive music to influence the liking of the drink -Advertising campaigns try to take advantage of evaluative conditioning -A current source of debate is whether evaluative conditioning is a special form of classical conditioning -Some studies suggest that attitudes can be shaped through evaluative conditioning without participants’ conscious awareness and that evaluative conditioning is remarkably durable -Evaluative conditioning can shape people’s attitudes Conditioning and Physiological Responses -Research has revealed that the functioning of the immune system can be influenced by psychological factors, including conditioning -Classical conditioning procedures can lead to immunosuppression – a decrease in the production of antibodies -Classical conditioning can also elicit allergic reactions and that classical conditioning contributes to the growth of drug tolerance and the experience of withdrawal symptoms when drug use is halted -Continued use of drugs may lead to increased drug tolerance, in which increasing amounts of the drug are needed to produce the same effect -Classical conditioning can influence sexual arousal Conditioning and Drug Effects -Stimuli that are consistently paired with the administration of drugs can acquire the capacity to elicit conditioned responses in both humans and laboratory animals -Most drug users have routines that lead to the consistent pairing of drug administration and certain stimuli, such as syringes, cocaine bottles, and specific settings and rituals. Even the drug administration process itself can become a CS associated with drug effects -Complicated conditioning processes appear to play a role in drug tolerance, drug craving, and drug overdoses, which need to be factored into the treatment of drug addiction Basic Processes in Classical Conditioning -Most conditioned responses are reflexive and difficult to control -Most people with phobias have great difficulty suppressing their fear Acquisition: Forming New Responses -Acquisition refers to the initial stage of learning something -The acquisition of a conditioned response depends on stimulus contiguity -Stimuli are contiguous if the occur together in time and space -People are bombarded daily by countless stimuli that could be perceived as being paired, yet only some of these pairings produce classical conditioning Extinction: Weakening Conditioned Responses -Extinction is the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response tendency -The consistent presentation of the conditioned stimulus alone, without the unconditioned stimulus leads to extinction Spontaneous Recovery: Resurrecting Responses -Some conditioned responses display the ultimate in tenacity by “reappearing from the dead” after having been extinguished -Spontaneous recovery is the reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of nonexposure to the conditioned stimulus -The renewal effect is – if a response is extinguished in a different environment than it was acquired, the extinguished response will reappear if the animal is returned to the original environment where acquisition took place -This phenomenon, along with the evidence on spontaneous recovery, suggests that extinction somehow suppresses a conditioned response rather than erasing a learned association -Extinction does not appear to lead to unlearning -Even if you manage to rid yourself of an unwanted conditioned response, there is an excellent chance that I may make a surprise reappearance later Stimulus Generalization and the Mysterious Case of Little Albert -After conditioning has occurred, organisms often show a tendency to respond not only to the exact CS used but also to other, similar stimuli -Stimulus generalization occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus responds in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus -Generalization is adaptive, given that organisms rarely encounter the exact same stimulus more than once -The likelihood and amount of generalization to a new stimulus depend on the similarity between the new stimulus and the original CS -The more similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the generalization -This principle can be quantified in graphs called generalization gradients -Generalization can have important implications in panic disorder Stimulus Discrimination -Stimulus discrimination occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus does not respond in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus -Discrimination is adaptive in that an animal’s survival may hinge on its being able to distinguish friend from foe, or edible from poisonous food -Ex. Your dog will run around and wag its tail when it hears your car being pulled into the driveway – though it will do that with any car – unless your car has a distinct sound -The less similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the likelihood (and ease) of discrimination Higher-Order Conditioning -Higher-order conditioning is in which a conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an unconditioned stimulus -Shows that classical conditioning does not depend on the presence of a genuine, natural UCS – an already established CS will do just fine Operant Conditioning -Operant conditioning is a form of learning in which responses come to be controlled by their consequences Thorndike’s Law of Effect -Another name for operant conditioning is instrumental learning, a term coined by Edward Thorndike -Thorndike wanted to emphasize that this kind of responding is often instrumental in obtaining some desired outcome -The law of effect – if a response in the presence of a stimulus leads to satisfying effects, the association between the stimulus and the response is strengthened Skinner’s Demonstration: It’s All a Matter of Consequences -In training his pigeons, he made use of the reinforcement principles -Skinner demonstrated that organisms tend to repeat those responses that are followed by favourable consequences -Reinforcement occurs when an event following a response increases an organism’s tendency to make that response -A response is strengthened because it leads to rewarding consequences Terminology and Procedures -An operant chamber or Skinner box, is a small enclosure in which an animal can make a specific response that is recorded while the consequences of the response are systematically controlled -Because operant responses tend to be voluntary, they are said to be emitted rather than elicited -To emit means to send forth -The Skinner box permits the experimenter to control the reinforcement contingencies that are in effect for the animal -Reinforcement contingencies are the circumstances or rules that determine whether responses lead to the presentation of reinforcers -Typically the experimenter manipulates whether positive consequences occur when the animal makes the designated response -The key dependent variable in most research on operant conditioning is the subject’s response rate over time -The cumulative recorder creates a graphic record of responding and reinforcement in a Skinner box as a function of time – it works by means of a roll of paper that moves at a steady rate underneath a movable pen -The results are portrayed in graphs -A rapid response rate produces a steep slope, whereas a slow response rate produces a shallow slope -The line never goes down Basic Processed in Operant Conditioning Acquisition and Shaping -Acquisition refers to the initial stage of learning some new pattern of responding -Operant responses are usually established through a gradual process called shaping, which consists of the reinforcement of a close and closer approximations of a desires response -Shaping is necessary when an organism does not, on its own, emit the desired response Extinction -Extinction refers to the gradual weakening and disappearance of a response tendency because the response is no longer followed by a reinforce -A key issue in operant conditioning is how much resistance to extinction an organism will display when reinforcement is halted -Resistance to extinction occurs when an organism continues to make a response after delivery of the reinforce has been terminated -The greater the resistance to extinction, the longer the responding will continue -People often want to strengthen a response in such a way that it will be relatively resistant to extinction -Renewal effect – if a response is extinguished in a different environment than it was acquired, the extinguished response will reappear if the animal is returned to the original environment where acquisition took place Stimulus Control: Generalization and Discrimination -Operant responding is ultimately controlled by its consequences, as organisms learn response-outcome associations -When a response is consistently followed by a reinforce in the presence of a particular stimulus, that stimulus comes to serve as a “signal”, indicating that the response is likely to lead to a reinforce -Once an organism learns the signal, it tends to respond accordingly -Discriminative stimuli are cues that influence operant behaviour by indicating the probable consequences (reinforcement or nonreinforcement) of a response -Ex. Asking someone out on a date after making eye contact and winking at a bar Reinforcement: Consequences that Strengthen Responses -Skinner said that reinforcement occurs whenever an outcome strengthens a response, as measured by an increase in the rate of responding -This definition avoids the issue of what the organism is feeling and focuses on observable events -Reinforcement is defined after the fact, in terms of its effect on behaviour -Operant theorists make a distinction between unlearned, or primary, reinforcers as opposed to conditioned, or secondary reinforcers -Primary reinforcers are events that are inherently reinforcing because they satisfy biological needs -In humans, primary reinforcers include food, water, warmth, sex, and affection -Secondary reinforcers are events that acquire reinforcing qualities by being associated with primary reinforcers -Examples in human beings are: money, good grades, attention, flattery, praise, and applause Reinforcement and Superstitious Behaviour -Reinforcement, is key to the development of the kinds of superstitious behaviours exhibited by professional athletes -Ex. A bowler twisting and turning their head after throwing a ball – the behaviour has no real impact on the probability of receiving a reward, but the behaviour continues -Ex. Special shorts, socks, sweaters, etc. -Ex. Knocking on wood -Subjects who are allowed to hold onto their good luck charm perform better than those who are forced to give it up -Superstitions may actually influence people’s outcomes Schedules of Reinforcement -A schedule of reinforcement determines which occurrences of a specific response result in the presentation of a reinforce -Continuous reinforcement occurs when every instance of a designated response is reinforced -Intermittent/partial reinforcement occurs when a designated response is reinforced only some of the time -Studies show that, given an equal number of reinforcements, intermittent reinforcement makes a response more resistant to extinction than continuous reinforcement does -Ratio schedules require the organism to make the designated response a certain number of times to gain each reinforce -With a fixed-ratio (FR) schedule, the reinforcer is given after a fixed number of non-reinforced responses -With a variable-ratio (VR) schedule, the reinforcer is given after a variable number of non-reinforced responses -With a fixed-interval (FI) schedule, the reinforcer is given or the first response that occurs after a fixed time interval as elapsed -With a variable-interval (VI) schedule, the reinforcer is given for the first response after a variable time interval has elapsed -Variable schedules tend to generate steadier response rates and greater resistance to extinction than their fixed counterparts Positive Reinforcement vs. Negative Reinforcement -Positive reinforcement occurs when a response is strengthened because it is followed by the presentation of a rewarding stimulus -Ex. Good grades, paycheques -Negative reinforcement occurs when a response is strengthened because it is followed by the removal of an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus -Ex. An electric shock for the wrong behaviour -Everyday human behaviour is regulated extensively by negative reinforcement – Ex. Rushing home in the winter to get out of the cold Negative Reinforcement and Avoidance Behaviour Escape Learning -In escape learning, an organism acquires a response that decreases or ends some aversive stimulation -Escape learning doesn’t necessarily entail leaving the scene of the aversive stimulation. Any behaviour that decreases or ends aversive stimulation represents escape learning – Ex. Turning on the heat to escape the cold Avoidance Learning -Escape learning often leads to avoidance learning -In avoidance learning, an organism acquires a response that prevents some aversive stimulation from occurring -Ex. Not going to parties because you don’t want to be picked on -Responses that allow you to avoid a phobic stimulus earn negative reinforcement each time they are made – so the avoidance behaviour is strengthened and continues -These avoidance responses prevent any opportunity to extinguish the phobic conditioned response because you’re never exposed to the conditioned stimulus Punishment: Consequences that Weaken Responses -Punishment occurs when an event following a response weakens the tendency to make that response -Punishment may also involve the removal of a rewarding stimulus -Punishment involves the presentation of an aversive stimulus, thereby weakening a response Side Effects of Physical Punishment -Ex. Spanking -Punishment is associated with poor-quality parent-child relationships, elevated aggression, delinquency, and behavioural problems in youngsters, and is associated with an increased likelihood of children being abused -Those who were spanked showed a disadvantage in IQ scores -How to make punishment more effective while reducing its side effects: 1. Apply punishment swiftly – a delay in delivering punishment tends to undermine its impact 2. Use punishment just severe enough to be effective – it’s best to use the lease severe punishment that seems likely to have the necessary impact 3. Make punishment consistent – If you want to eliminate a response, you should punish the response every time it occurs 4. Explain the punishment – Punishment combines with reasoning is more effective than either alone 5. Use non-corporal punishments, such as withdrawal of privileges – these are a more prudent means to achieve disciplinary goals Changing Directions in the Study of Conditioning Recognizing Biological Constraints on Conditioning -There are limits to the generality of conditioning principles – limits imposed by an organism’s biological heritage Instinctive Drift: The Case of the Miserly Raccoons -Instinctive drift occurs when an animal’s innate response tendencies interfere with conditioning processes -A scientist was training raccoons to deposit coins into a piggy bank in exchange for food - he succeeded, but when he gave the raccoons more than one coin, they stopped and just kept rubbing them together Conditioned Taste Aversion: The “Sauce Bearnaise Syndrome” -This is what happened to John – got food poisoning from homemade burgers and now will not eat homemade burgers and will throw up at the smell of them Preparedness and Phobias -Preparedness involves a species-specific predisposition to be conditioned in certain ways and not others -Preparedness can explain why certain phobias are vastly more common than others -Evolved model for fear learning: (1) preferentially activated b stimuli related to survival threats in evolutionary history, (2) automatically activated by these stimuli, (3) relatively resistant to conscious efforts to suppress the resulting fears, and (4) dependent on neural circuitry running through the amygdala Evolutionary perspectives on Learning -Learning is a very genera process because the biological bases of learning and the basic problems confronted by various organisms are much the same across species Recognizing Cognitive Processes in Conditioning Latent Learning and Cognitive Maps -Edward Tolman and his colleagues determined latent learning -Latent learning – learning that is not apparent from behaviour when it first occurs -Learning can take place in the absence of reinforcement Signal Relations -A “good” signal is one that allows accurate prediction of the UCS -Through Tolman’s work he introduces a cognitive element – predictions/explanations – into the models of learning Response-Outcome Relations and Reinforcement -Reinforcement is not automatic when favourable consequences follow a response -When a response is followed by a desirable outcome, the response is more likely to be strengthened if the person thinks that the response caused the outcome Observational Learning -Observational learning occurs when an organism’s responding is influenced by the observation of others, who are called models -Albert Bandura -Extension of classical and operant learning Basic Processes -Four key processes: -Attention – Pay attention to the other person’s behaviour and its consequences -Retention – Store the observed response in your memory -Reproduction – Enacting a modelled response depends on your ability to reproduce the response by converting your stored mental images into overt behaviour -Motivation – You must be motivated Acquisition vs. Performance -People have many learned responses that they may or may not perform, depending on the situation -Reinforcement affects which responses are actually performed more than which responses are acquired -People emit those responses that they think are likely to be reinforced -Ex. Not opening a textbook when the professor gives arbitrary, unpredictable exams, because you do not expect studying to be reinforced Observational Learning and the Media Violence Controversy -Children are very impressionable, and extensive evidence indicates that they pick up many responses from viewing models on TB -Bandura conducted a series of classic experiments on aggression often referred to as the “Bobo doll” experiment – Bandura showed that children would imitate aggressive behaviour toward a Bobo doll by an adult model -Youngsters are exposed to an astonishing amount of violence when they watch TV -Exposure to media violence appears to desensitize people to the effects of aggression in the real world -The more violence children watch on TV, the more aggressive the children tend to be at home and at school Observational Learning and the Brain: Mirror Neurons -Mirror neurons are neurons that are activated by performing an action or by seeing another monkey or person perform the same action -These neuron circuits are found in both the frontal lobe and the parietal lobe -The operation of mirror neurons and related structures and processes of the brain may underlie imitation and observational learning -Mirror neurons may underlie out ability to understand others, to understand what is going on in the minds of others, making “intersubjectivity” possible, thus setting the stage for our social behaviour -Ex. Wincing when Sidney Crosby takes a brutal hit Human Memory Encoding: Getting Information into Memory -Sometimes the information just doesn’t seem important, so you devote very little or no attention to it -Active encoding is a crucial process in memory The Role of Attention -You need to pay attention to information if you intend to remember it -Attention involves focusing awareness on a narrowed range of stimuli or events -Selective attention is critical to everyday functioning -Attention is often likened to a filter that screens out most potential stimuli while allowing a select few to pass through conscious awareness -Ex. At a party and you’re only paying attention to the conversation you’re having – not the others around you, you’ve zoned those out, but if you hear someone calling your name, you will automatically hear it -It is clear that people have difficultly if they attempt to focus their attention on two or more inputs simultaneously -When participants are forced to divide their attention between memory encoding and some other task, large reductions in memory performance are seen -Divided attention can have a negative impact on the performance of quite a variety of tasks, especially when the tasks are complex or unfamiliar -The human brain can effectively handle only one attention-consuming task at a time -When people multitask, they are switching their attention back and forth among tasks, rather than processing them simultaneously -While much of the information we want to remember is encoded as a result of effortful processing, some types of information may be acquired more automatically -In the first type of processing, you are picking up information because you are intentionally attempting to do so, such as when you are listening to your prof -Other information, such as the frequency of word use is picked up without intending to do so -The ability to answer questions based on each type of processing has been found to be a function of several factors, including circadian patterns and age Levels of Processing -Attention is critical to the encoding of memories – not all attention is created equal -You can attend to things in different ways, focusing on different aspects of the stimulus input -How people attend to information are the main factors influencing how much they remember -In dealing with verbal information, people engage in three progressively deeper levels of processing: structural, phonemic, and semantic encoding -Structural encoding is relatively shallow processing that emphasizes the physical structure of the stimulus -Phonemic encoding emphasizes what a word sounds like -Semantic encoding emphasizes the meaning of verbal input; it involves thinking about the objects and actions the words represents -Levels-of-processing theory proposes that deeper levels of processing result in longer-lasting memory codes Enriching Encoding -There are other dimensions to encoding, dimensions that can enrich the encoding process and thereby improve memory: elaboration, visual imagery, and self-referent coding Elaboration -Elaboration is linking a stimulus to other information at the time of encoding -The additional associations created by elaboration usually help people to remember information Visual Imagery -The creation of visual images to represent the words to be remembered -The impact of imagery is quite evident -Imagery facilitates memory because it provides a second king of memory code, and two codes are better than one -Dual-coding theory holds that memory is enhanced by forming semantic and visual codes, since either can lead to recall -The use of mental imagery can enhance memory in many situations Self-Referent Encoding -Making material personally meaningful can enrich encoding -Self-referent encoding involves deciding how or whether information is personally relevant -Appears to enhance recall by promoting additional elaboration and better organization of information Storage: Maintaining Information in Memory Sensory Memory -The sensory memory preserves information in its original sensory form for a brief time, usually only a fraction of a second -Sensory memory allows the sensation of a visual pattern, sound, or touch to linger for a brief moment after the sensory stimulation is over -Ex. Visual afterimage when you wave a sparkler in a circle – it looks like a complete circle Short-term Memory -Short-term memory (STM) is a limited-capacity store that can maintain unrehearsed information for up to about 20 seconds -Rehearsal – the process of repetitively verbalizing or thinking about the information -In using maintenance rehearsal you are simply maintaining the information in consciousness, while in more elaborative processing you are increasing the probability that you will retain the information in the future -Rehearsal keeps recycling the information through your short-term memory Durability of Storage -Without rehearsal, information in short-term memory is lost in less than 20 seconds Capacity of Storage -Short-term memory is also limited in the number of items it can hold -People could recall only about seven items in tasks that required them to remember unfamiliar items -The limited capacity of STM constrains people’s ability to perform tasks in which they need to mentally juggle various pieces of information -It has been known that you can increase capacity of your STM by combining stimuli into larger, possibly higher-order units, called chunks -A chunk is a group of familiar stimuli stored as a single unit -Depends on how you chunk it – in a meaningful vs. non-meaningful way Short-Term Memory as “Working Memory” -Short-term memory is not limited to phonemic encoding as originally thought and decay is not the only process responsible for the loss of information from STM -Working memory is a limited capacity storage system that temporarily maintains and stores information by providing an interface between perception, memory, and action -Consists of four components: phonological loop – at work when you use recitation to temporarily remember something, visuospatial sketchpad – permits people to temporarily hold and manipulate visual images, central executive system – controls the deployment of attention, switching the focus of attention, and dividing attention as needed, episodic buffer- a temporary, limited-capacity store that allows the various components of working memory to integrate information and that serves as an interface between working and long-term memory -Working memory capacity (WMC) refers to one’s ability to hold and manipulate information in conscious attention -WMC is a stable trait that appears to be influenced to a considerable degree by heredity -Variations in WMC also appear to influence musical ability, as reading music while playing an instrument taxes working memory capacity Long-Term Memory -Long-term memory (LTM) is an unlimited capacity store that can hold information over lengthy periods of time -LTM can store information indefinitely -Stored there permanently -Forgetting occurs only because people sometimes cannot retrieve needed information from LTM -Flashbulb memories are unusually vivid and detailed recollections of momentous events -Flashbulb memories represent an instance of permanent storage -Although flashbulb memories tend to be strong, vivid, and detailed, studies suggest that they are neither as accurate nor as special as once believed How is Knowledge Represented and Organized in Memory? -Our mental representations probably take a variety of forms, depending on the nature of the material that needs to be tucked away in memory Clustering and Conceptual Hierarchies -Clustering – the tendency to remember similar or related items in groups -Conceptual hierarchy – a multilevel classification system based on common properties among items Schemas -A schema is an organized cluster of knowledge about a particular object or event abstracted from previous experience with the object or event -People are more likely to remember things that are consistent with their schemes than things that are not -People sometimes exhibit better recall of things that violate their schema-based expectations -Not only do we have schemas about physical settings, but we also have schemas about specific people, types of people and social events Semantic Networks -A semantic network consists of nodes representing concepts, joined together by pathways that link related concepts -Semantic networks have proven useful in explaining why thinking about one work can make a closely related word easier to remember Connectionist Networks and Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) Models -Connectionist models of memory take their inspiration from how neural networks appear to handle information -The human brain appears to depend extensively on parallel distributed processing – simultaneous processing of the same information that is spread across networks of neurons -Connectionist or parallel distributed processing (PDP) models assume that cognitive processes depend on patterns of activation in highly interconnected computational networks that resemble neural networks -A PDP system consists of a large network of interconnected computing units, or nodes, that operate much like neurons -Like an individual neuron, a specific node’s level of activation reflects the weighted balance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs from many other units -PDP models asset that specific memories correspond to particular patterns of activation in these networks Retrieval: Getting Information Out of Memory Using Cues to Aid Retrieval -The tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon is the temporary inability to remember something you know, accompanied by a feeling that it’s just out of reach -Most people experience this once a week -Memories can often be jogged with retrieval cues- stimuli that help gain access to memories Reinstating the Context of an Event -Your memory for information would be better when the conditions during encoding and retrieval were similar -Context cues often facilitate the retrieval of information -The technique of reinstating the context of an event has been used effectively in legal investigates to enhance eyewitness recall -If you encoded information while intoxicated, your recall should be facilitated by attempting o retrieve the information while in a similar state Reconstructing Memories and the Misinformation Effect -To some extent, our memories are sketchy reconstructions of the past that may be distorted and may include details that did not actually occur -Subjects tend to leave out the boring details -The memory for events was more like a reconstruction -Part o what people recall about an event is the details of that particular event and part is a reconstruction o the event based on their schemas -The misinformation effect occurs when participants’ recall of an event they witnessed is altered by introducing misleading post-event information Source Monitoring and Reality Monitoring -Reality monitoring refers to the process of deciding whether memories are based on external sources (ones perceptions of actual events) or internal sources (one’s thoughts and imaginations) -People engage in reality monitoring when they reflect on whether something actually happened or they only thought about it happening -Source monitoring involves making attributions about the origins of memories -Source monitoring is a crucial facet of memory retrieval that contributes to many of the mistakes people make in reconstructing their experiences -A source-monitoring error occurs when a memory derived from one source is misattributed to another source -Destination memory involves recalling to whom one has told what -Destination memory is more fragile because when transmitting information people are self-focused on their message, leaving less attention capacity to devote to encoding whom one is talking with Forgetting: When Memory Lapses -Forgetting can reduce competition among memories that can cause confusion -Forgetting may be adaptive in the long run -Forgetting can be caused by defects in encoding, storage, retrieval, or some combination of these processes How Quickly we Forget: Ebbinghaus’s Forgetting Curve -Herman Ebbinghaus -A forgetting curve graphs retention and forgetting over time -The most forgetting occurs very rapidly after learning something -When subjects memorize more meaningful material, forgetting curves aren’t nearly as steep Measures of Forgetting -Retention refers to the proportion of material retained (remembered) -The three principal methods used to measure forgetting are recall, recognition, and relearning -A recall measure of retention requires subjects to reproduce information on their own without any cues -A recognition measure of retention requires subjects to select previously learned information from an array of options – Ex. Multiple choice testing -A relearning measure of retention requires a subject to memorize information a second time to determine how much time or how many practice trials are saved by having learned it before Why we Forget -Factors that may affect encoding, storage, and retrieval processes Ineffective Coding -Appearing to have forgotten -People usually assume that they know what a penny looks like, but most have actually filed to encode this information -Due to lack of attention Decay -Decay theory proposes that forgetting occurs because memory traces fade with time -The mere passage of time produces forgetting -Forgetting depends not on the amount of time that has passed since learning but on the amount, complexity, and type of information that subjects have had to assimilate during the retention interval Interference -Interference theory proposes that people forget information because of competition from other material -Decreasing the similarity should reduce interference and cause less forgetting -Retroactive interference occurs when new information impairs the retention of previously learned information -Retroactive interference occurs between the original learning and the retest on that learning, during the retention interval -Proactive interference occurs when previously learning information interferes with the retention of new information -Proactive interference is rooted in learning that comes before exposure to the test material Retrieval Failure -Retrieval failures may be more likely when a mismatch occurs between retrieval cues and the encoding of the information you’re searching for -The encoding specificity principle states that the value of a retrieval cue depends on how well it corresponds to the memory code -Transfer-appropriate processing occurs when the initial processing of information is similar to the type of processing required by the subsequent measure of retention -Semantic processing yielded higher retention when the testing emphasizes semantic actors, while phonemic processing yielded higher retention when the testing emphasized phonemic factors -Retrieval failures are more likely when there is a poor fit between the processing done during encoding and the processing invoked by the measure of retention Motivated Forgetting -The tendency to forget things one doesn’t want to think about it called motivated forgetting -Repression refers to keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried in the unconscious The Repressed Memories Controversy Support for Recovered Memories -Many psychologists accept recovered memories of abuse at face value -There is ample evidence that it is common for people to bury traumatic incidents in their unconscious Skepticism Regarding Recovered Memories -Psychologists who doubt the authenticity of repressed memories support their analysis by pointing to discredited cases of recovered memories -Those who question the accuracy of repressed memories also point to findings on the misinformation effect, research on source-monitoring errors, and other studies that demonstrate the relative ease of creating “memories” of events that never happened -Many repressed memories of abuse have been recovered under the influence of hypnosis -Many repressed memories of abuse have been recovered through therapists’ dream interpretations -Some recovered memories have described incidents of abuse that occurred before the victim reached age three and even when the victim was still in the womb Rebuttals to the Skeptics -Even if one accepts the assertion that therapists can create false memories of abuse in their patients, some critics have noted that there is virtually no direct evidence on how often that occurs and no empirical basis for the claim that there has been an epidemic of such cases Conclusions -Therapists can unintentionally create false memories in their patients and a significant portion of recovered memories of abuse are the product of suggestion -Some cases of recovered memories are authentic -The matter of recovered memories needs to be addressed with great caution Seven Sins of Memory: How Memory Goes Wrong -Memory is key to understanding who we are and what we do -Memory doesn’t fail us only because we simply forget; sometimes our memories for events are distorted and biased -The memory sins: -Transience – the simple weakening of a memory over time -Absentmindedness – memory failure that is often due to a failure to pay attention because we are perhaps preoccupied with other things -Blocking – a temporary problem that occurs when we fail to retrieve an item of information such as someone’s name when we meet them -Misattribution – we assign a memory to the wrong source – Ex. Psych or business prof delayed the exam, which one did? -Suggestibility – our memory is distorted, because of, for example, misleading questions -Bias – inaccuracy due to the effect of our current knowledge on our reconstruction of the past -Persistence – involves unwanted memories or recollections that you cannot forget – memories that haunt you In Search of the Memory Trace: The Physiology of Memory -Investigators continue to explore a variety of leads about the physiological bases for memory The Neural Circuitry of Memory -Memory formation results in alterations in synaptic transmission at specific sites -Durable changes in synaptic transmission may be the neural building blocks of more complex memories as well -Specific memories may depend on localized neural circuits in the brain -Memories may create unique, reusable pathways in the brain along which signals flow -Long-term potentiation (LTP) is a long-lasting increase in neural excitability at synapses along a specific neural pathway -LTP appears to involve changes in both presynaptic (sending) and postsynaptic (receiving) neurons in neural circuits in the hippocampus -The process of neurogenesis – the formation of new neurons – ma contribute to the sculpting of neural circuits that underlie memory The Anatomy of Memory -Retrograde amnesia involves the loss of memories for events that occurred prior to the onset of amnesia -Anterograde amnesia involves the loss of memories for events that occur after the onset of amnesia -Consolidation is a hypothetical process involving the gradual conversion of information into durable memory codes stored in long term memory -Memories are consolidated in the hippocampal region and then stored in diverse widely distributed areas of the cortex -A variety of biochemical processes, neural circuits, and anatomical structures have been implicated as playing a role in memory Systems and Types of Memory Implicit vs. Explicit Memory -Implicit memory is apparent when retention is exhibited on a task that does not require intentional remembering -Explicit memory involves intentional recollection of previous experiences -Explicit memory is conscious, is accessed directly, and can best be assessed with recall or recognition measures of retention -Implicit memory is unconscious, must be accessed indirectly, and can best be assessed with variations on relearning measures of retention -Implicit memory is largely unaffected by amnesia, age, and the administration of drugs, etc. Declarative vs. Procedural Memory -The declarative memory system handles factual information – contains recollection of words, definitions, names, dates, faces, events, concepts, and ideas -The non-declarative or procedural memory system houses memory for actions, skills, operations, and conditioned responses – Ex. How to ride a bike -The two systems seem to operate somewhat differently -Declarative memory appears to be handled by the medial temporal lobe memory system and the far- flung areas of the cortex with which it communicates Semantic vs. Episodic Memory -The episodic memory system is made up of chronological, or temporally dated, recollections of personal experiences -Episodic memory is a record of things you’ve done, seen, and heard -The semantic memory system contains general knowledge that is not tied to the time when the information was learned -Semantic memory contains information such as Christmas is December 25, dogs have 4 legs – information stored like this is undated – don’t remember when you learned it -Episodic memory is like an autobiography, while semantic memory is like an encyclopedia Prospective vs. Retrospective Memory -Prospective memory involves remembering to perform actions in the future – Ex. Remembering to call someone later -Retrospective memory involves remembering events from the past or previously learned inform
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