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PS260 Midterm 2 Class+Textbook Notes.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 5: The Acquisition of Memories and the Working-Memory System Learning and Memory  One way to frame learning and memory o Acquisition o Storage o Retrieval  Analogy to creating, storing and opening a computer file o This view is problematic for at least two reasons:  New learning is grounded in previously learned (stored) knowledge  Effective learning depends on how the information will be later retrieved The Route Into Memory  Information processing o A perspective in cognitive psychology in which complex mental events involve a number of discrete components o These components receive input from, and send input to, one another  Incoming information’s output is sensory memory’s input The Modal Model  The modal model (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968; Waugh & Norman, 1965) makes a distinction between two kinds of memory: o Short-term memory (STM) – holds the information currently in use  Working memory (WM) – a more recent term for short-term memory, emphasizing its function  A dynamic form of short-term memory o Long-term memory (LTM) – all of the information one can remember  Information first arrives and is stored in sensory memory o Input in “raw” sensory form  Iconic memory – visual inputs  Echoic memory – auditory inputs  Process of selection and interpretation moves the information into short- term memory  From there it either moves to long-term memory, a much larger and more permanent storage space, or is forgotten  --  Experiments supporting the modal model o Participants hear a long series of words (ex. 30) o Serial position - The position of an item in the presentation list o Free-recall procedure – task is to repeat back as many words as they can in any order o Primacy effect  Better memory for first few items in the list  Based in long-term memory  During list presentation, the first few items receive the most memory rehearsal and are transferred from WM to LTM o Recency effect  Better memory for the last few items in the list  Based in working memory  At the end of the list presentation, the last few items are currently in working memory and are often the first items to be reported  30 seconds of filled delay displaces the last few items from working memory o This eliminates the recency effect  30 seconds of unfilled delay doesn’t change the recency effect o Slowing down the presentation of the list allows for more rehearsal of all items  This improves all parts of the curve that reflect LTM (all items except for the last few)  Neuroimaging data o Memory for the items at the beginning of the list (but not at the end) is associated with activity in the hippocampus  Retrieval from long-term memory specifically activates the hippocampus  Retrieval from working memory specifically activates the perirhinal cortex Working Memory  Virtually all mental activities require working memory (WM) o Reading o Goal-driven behaviour  Some tasks demand more WM resources than others  Individual differences in WM capacity predict some cognitive abilities o People with greater working memory capacities have an advantage in many settings:  Tests of reasoning  Assessments of reading comprehension  Standardized academic tests  --  Digit-Span Task o Used to determine an individual’s working memory capacity o Participants hear a series of digits and repeats them back o The longest list length that can be reliably repeated back by the participant is his or her digit span o Working memory capacity is typically 7 +/- 2 (Miller, 1956) o Chunking – repacking of the information held in working memory  A series of letters HOPTRASLU can be chunked as the syllables HOP, TRA, SLU  Working memory can hold 7 +/- 2 chunks of information  Effort and attention resources are required to repackage the input  Doesn’t increase the size of working memory itself  The cost attached with chunking is that it requires effort to “repackage” the material and with attention spent in this way, less attention is available for rehearsing these items  Reading Span o A measure that captures the active nature of working memory o Participants read a series of sentences and must remember the last word in each sentence o The number of sentence-final words that can be remembered is the operation span  Performance in this test is likely to reflect the efficiency of working memory in natural settings  Operation Span o Another measure that captures the active nature of working memory o Participant determines whether an equation is true or false, and must remember a word paired with each equation o The number of words that can be remembered determines the operation span  Reading span and Operation span correlate more strongly with test performance, reasoning and reading ability than does the digit span task The Working Memory System  Working memory is often divided into three components: o Central executive – makes decisions, plans responses and coordinates helper components o Visuospatial buffer – helper component that deals with visual material and imagery o Articulatory rehearsal loop – helper component that deals with verbal material  Executive control – processes needed to: o Control the sequences of our thought and action o Select and launch responses o Plan and set goals o Resist falling into habit or routine  Contrasts between working memory and long-term memory o WM stores information currently being thought about; LTM stores all information one knows o WM is limited in capacity; LTM great in capacity o WM easily loaded and accessed; LTM less easily o WM fragile and easily displaced; LTM more enduring Entering Long-Term Storage  Two types of rehearsal o Maintenance rehearsal – thinking about the material in a rote, mechanical way; repetition o Relational or elaborative rehearsal – thinking about the material in terms of meaning, relating the items to each other and to what one already knows  Relational or elaborative rehearsal is superior to maintenance rehearsal for establishing information in LTM  Repeated exposure to information doesn’t guarantee encoding in LTM  E.g. – trying to remember the design details of a penny  If we compare the brain activity for remembered and forgotten items at the time of encoding, activity in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex predicts later retention Frontal Areas Hippocampus and Adjacent Areas  Intentional learning – learning with the intention to learn  Incidental learning – learning in the absence of any intention to learn  Shallow processing – engaging the information in a relatively superficial way o E.g. – making a decision about a typeface  Deep processing – engaging the information in a more meaningful way o E.g. – thinking about meaning  Experiment testing types of learning o Shallow processing (typeface task) – upper case or lower case o Moderate processing (phonological task) – does it rhyme o Deep processing (semantic task) – how pleasant or fit in sentence  Intention to learn doesn’t add very much o Memory can be just as good if you approach the materials the right way  Deeper processing ensures better recall  Depth of processing has a strong effect  Intention to learn doesn’t have a measurable effect  Any effects of intention to learn are indirect; it all depends on whether the participant chooses a deep-processing strategy Elaborate Encoding  Depth of processing promotes recall by facilitating later retrieval o Consider learning as a way to establish indexing, a path to the information o Connections between to-be-remembered items facilitates retrieval  E.g. - Cataloguing a book doesn’t ground it more firmly in the building, but makes it easier to find later  Craig & Tulving (1975) showed that words appearing in more elaborate sentences were better remembered than the same words in simple sentences o Participants were shown a word and then a sentence with a word left out o After many trials they were asked to remember all the words they had seen  The great bird swooped down and carried off the struggling chicken, compared to, she cooked the chicken, were better remembered  This benefit for words that were encoded in elaborate sentences may be the result of richer retrieval paths – paths that guide one’s thoughts towards the content to be remembered o Greater elaborative encoding creates more retrieval paths Organizing and Memorizing  Katona (1940) argued that the key to creating connections in the to-be- remembered material is organization  We memorize well when we find order in the material  Mnemonics – strategies used to improve memory by providing an organizational framework o The downside is not finding a richer understanding of the material by relating it to things already known  Mental imagery – relying on “mental pictures” to link the to-be-remembered items to each other o Eagle-train – picturing an eagle with a train in his beak  Peg-word systems – items are “hung” on a system of already well known “pegs” o One is a bun o Two is a shoe  First-letter mnemonics – links the first letters of the words into a meaningful structure o Roy G. Biv  The downside to using mnemonics is that you typically focus on just one aspect of the material, meaning you usually don’t pay much attention to other aspects of the material  --  Ambiguous passages are understood and remembered better if they are given a clarifying title  Ambiguous pictures are understood and remembered better if they are identified  Memory for digits is enhanced if patterns can be discovered  Glancing at these numbers and trying to recall them is really difficult  Find the pattern of 1 (+3), 4 (+5), 9 (+7) and so on, and the digits are better recalled Links Among Acquisition, Storage and Retrieval  Memory is facilitated by organizing and understanding the materials, not by mere exposure o What the memorizer was doing at the time of exposure matters o The background knowledge of the memorizer matters  Acquisition, storage and retrieval aren’t easily separable o New learning is grounded in previously learned (stored) knowledge o Effective learning depends on how the information will be later retrieved Chapter 6: Interconnections Between Acquisition and Retrieval Learning as Preparation for Retrieval  When we learn, we make connections between the newly acquired material and representations already in memory  These connections serve as retrieval paths when we need to remember the new material o The more retrieval paths, the more likely to remember the information  Context-Dependent Learning – new material is most likely to be recalled when the person is in the same mental, emotional or biological state as when the material was learned. o Experiment by Godden and Baddeley (1975) asked scuba divers to learn various materials. o Some learned on land others in water, and then half of each group were moved to the other environment o Due to the difference in look, feel and sound, retrieving the memory through the same connections isn’t an option, which results in less material retrieved  E.g. - Linking the cold water with the task can’t be done as well when on land Better memory Worse memory Worse memory Better memory  Context Reinstatement – recreating the context that was present during learning will improve memory performance o Fisher & Craik (1977) presented participants with word pairs and asked them to remember the second word. The first word served as context o The word pairs were either semantically related or rhymed  Semantically – word was cat, context word would be dog  Encouraged thinking about the meaning  Rhymed – word was cat, context word would be hat  Encouraged thinking about the sound o During testing, the prime words were presented as cues or hints (retrieval cues)  Some trial’s cues focused on meaning, “Was there a word associated with dog” and other trial’s cues focused on sound “Was there a word associated with hat”  Two effects were observed: o Depth of processing effect – thinking about meaning at the time of encoding provides an advantage, compared to thinking about rhyming at encoding  People who thought about meaning when learning remembered about 50% more than people who thought about sound o Context reinstatement effect – having the same kind of context during learning and retrieval provides an advantage, compared to different kinds of contexts Encoding Specificity  Encoding specificity – the tendency, when memorizing, to place in memory both the materials to be learned as well as the context of those materials o “The man lifted the piano” [context: heavy] o “The man tuned the piano” [context: music]  As a result, materials will be recognized as familiar later on only if they appear again in a similar context  Encoding specificity explains why memory for having seen an ambiguous figure depends on the interpretations being the same at encoding and retrieval The Memory Network  Spreading activation travels from one node to another via the associative links o As each node becomes activated and fires, it serves as a source for further activation, spreading onward through the network  Similar to neurons o Input sums to reach a threshold, causing firing  Nodes receive activation from their neighbours, and as more and more activation arrives at a particular node, the activation level for that node increases o Eventually the node reaches its response threshold and then fires  The node fires, sending energy to its neighbours and activating them  Also, the node firing summons attention to itself, that’s what it means to “find” a node within a network o Activation levels below the response threshold, subthreshold activation, also have important roles  Activation is assumed to accumulate, so two subthreshold inputs may add together, or summate, and bring the node to the threshold  If a node has been partially activated recently, a weak input will be sufficient to bring the node to threshold  The networks linking memories to each other resemble the networks linking detectors to each other o Detectors, like memory nodes, receive activation from other detectors o They can accumulate activation from different inputs and once activated to threshold levels, they fire  Networks suggest an explanation for why hints help us remember Subthreshold activity Subthreshold activity o When asked “What’s the capital of South Dakota”, if given the cue “Is it perhaps a mans name?”, activation from both nodes spread out from the source at the same time and now “Pierre” will receive activation from two sources simultaneously, activating the nodes to threshold levels  State-dependent learning and content reinstatement lead to faster response times o In a lexical-decision task, research participants are shown a series of letter sequences and asked if they spell a word  Participants speed of response is an index of how quickly they can locate the word in their memories o Meyer and Schvaneveldt (1971) presented participants with pairs of letter strings and had to hit “yes” if both sequences spelt a word, if not hit “no”  For word pairs like bread and butter, seeing bread activates nodes that already activates butter and results in faster responses  If the pair was bread and astronaut, the response time is longer as their isn’t any priming Different Forms of Memory Testing  Recall – the participant must generate the studied items, often in a response to a contextual cue o “What was the name of the restaurant that we went to?” o Recall requires a search through memory and depends heavily on whether retrieval paths are available  Recognition – the studied items are presented to the participant, who decides whether they were encountered before o “Is this the name of the restaurant” o If source memory is available, recognition responses are similar in mechanism to recall o In other cases, recognition responses are based on a feeling of familiarity  Source memory and familiarity are also distinguishable neuroanatomically  Participants are asked to make “remember/know” decisions, pressing one button if they recall the episode of encountering a particular item (“remember”) and another if they have a feeling of familiarity (“know”) o Activation in the anterior parahippocampus, rhinal cortex, during encoding predicts later feelings of familiarity and a “know” response o Activation in the hippocampus during encoding predicts later source memory and a “remember” response Implicit Memory  Two types of memory: o Explicit memories – revealed by direct memory testing, testing that specifically urges you to remember the past  Recall and standard recognition tests are direct memory tests  Accompanied by the conviction that one is remembering a specific prior episode o Implicit memories – revealed by indirect memory testing and are often manifested as priming effects  In this form of testing, your current behaviour is demonstrably influenced by a prior event, but you may be unaware of this  Lexical decision, word-stem completion and other tasks provide indirect means of assessing memory  We can expose participants to an event, later re-expose them to the same event and assess whether the response on the second encounter is different from those on the first  The lexical-decision task can be used in such an experiment to demonstrate repetition priming – more efficient processing for repeated presentation of the same stimulus o This is observed even if the participant doesn’t remember seeing the item before o Allows us to ask whether this first exposure somehow primed the participants for the second encounter o The result is that lexical decisions are quicker if the person has recently seen the test word  Another example of repetition priming can be seen with word-stem completion o Participants are given a string of letters and are asked to produce a word beginning with this string  E.g. – “CLA” responses “Clam, class or clatter” o If participants have encountered one of these words recently, they are more likely to provide it as a response in this task, even if they don’t consciously remember seeing that word before  Another example of implicit memory is identification of perceptually degraded images o Identification is easier if you have previously seen the intact images  “False Fame” Study by Jacob et al. (1989) o Participants were first asked to read aloud a list of fictitious names o Some time later, they were asked to rate another list of names in terms of how famous each person was  One group was asked directly after the test to rank famous people and the other had a 24 hour break o The list included real famous people, as well as fictitious names that had been read earlier o In some conditions, participants rated the fictitious names as famous (The people who had the 24 hour break)  The familiarity of the name was misattributed o Illusion of Truth – an effect of implicit memory in which claims that are familiar end up seeming more plausible  In one study demonstrating an illusion of truth, participants first read a series of statements and were told that some of them were false  Later, participants saw the sentences again and had to judge whether they were true  Statements that were heard before, even those that had been labeled false, were later judged to be more credible than sentences never heard before  Another misattribution of a familiarity effect can be observed in frequently misspelled words o Harass vs. Harrass  Sometimes the attribution of implicit memory goes to the wrong stimulus o An experiment where a sentence was said during a noise  When the person heard a sentence said before, they would think the noise wasn’t as loud and that’s why the could hear the sentence  But when told a different sentence and couldn’t hear it they blamed it on the volume  Source confusion – where a bit of information was learned or where a particular stimulus was last encountered is misremembered o A study by Brown, Deffenbacher and Sturgill (1977) created the scene of a staged crime o Two or three days later the participants were shown mug shots of individuals who weren’t involved o After four or five more days, the participants had to pick from a lineup the individuals who committed the crime o Participants picked the person in the lineup who had resembled the person in the mug shot  29% of participants falsely selected from the lineup o The eyewitnesses selected someone from a photo lineup based only on familiarity Theoretical Treatments of Implicit Memory  In all of these cases we have seen people being influenced by memories that they aren’t aware of  In some cases, participants realize that a stimulus is familiar but have no memory of the encounter that produced the familiarity  In other cases, they don’t even have the sense of familiarity, but they are nevertheless still influenced by the previous encounter with the stimulus  One way to think about implicit memory is in terms of processing fluency – an improvement in the speed or ease of processing that results from prior practice in using those same processing steps o For instance, just as seeing a stimulus raises the activation level of the relevant detectors, perceiving a word or thinking about its meaning leads to a similar pre-activation or fluency in the relevant cognitive mechanisms o The use of processing pathway increases the processing fluency of that pathway  Processing pathway – the sequence of detectors and the connections between detectors, that the activation flows through in recognizing a specific stimulus o Processing fluency may underlie the feeling of familiarity for stimuli that we have previously encountered  The forms of memory: Amnesia  The distinction between explicit and implicit memory is also supported by evidence from cases of brain damage  Amnesia is a disruption of memory due to brain damage o Retrograde amnesia – is an inability to remember events that occurred before the event that triggered the memory disruption o Anterograde amnesia – is an inability to remember experiences after the event that triggered the memory disruption  Clive Wearing, a famous musician, developed amnesia and now only has a moment-to-moment consciousness o He has no episodic memories  Another person suffered damage (from encephalitis) to the front portion of her temporal lobes o She has lost her memory of common words, important historical events, famous people and the features of inanimate and animate features o However she can clearly and accurately recall episodic memories  The person known as H.M. was one of the most studied patients with amnesia o As a last resort in treating H.M.’s case of epilepsy, portions of the brain that caused the seizures were surgically removed o Afterwards, H.M. had a severe anterograde amnesia and was unable to recall anything that took place after his surgery, as if nothing could get into long-term memory  A similar form of anterograde amnesia is observed in people with Korsakoff’s syndrome o This disorder is caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) in the diet and is associated with alcoholism  Both H.M. and patients with Korsakoff’s syndrome have damage to the hippocampus and surrounding brain regions  However, note that damage to the hippocampus doesn’t disrupt memories that are already established  Instead, the hippocampus is important for memory acquisition or creating new memories  Cases of amnesia support the distinction between explicit and implicit memory  Anterograde amnesia seems to be limited to explicit memory, while implicit memory is preserved  In 1911, Swiss nurologist, Edouard Claparede, performed an informal experiment with a Korsakoff-syndrome patient o When introducing himself to the patient, he hid a pin in his hand, which pricked the patient o Later, the patient couldn’t explicitly remember Claparede, but refused to shake his hand, vaguely saying “sometimes pins are hidden in people’s hands”  Other examples of amnesic patients demonstrating preserved implicit memories o Knowing the answer to a trivia question the second time around, even though not remembering being asked it before and given the answer o Preferring a musical melody that they had been exposed to before, even though not remembering having heard it before  People with anterograde amnesia also demonstrate improvements in procedural learning, which is another kind of implicit memory  Cases of impaired implicit memory and preserved explicit memory o Collectively, finding data supporting both dissociations in two groups of patients
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