Chapter 1 – What is Memory?
Clive Wearing – dense amnesia, but preserved ability to play music.
other studies show that densely amnesic patients can repeat back a telephone number, suggesting
preserved immediate memory, and that they can learn motor skills at a normal rate.
1950s – clark Hull – general theory of learning explicitly modeled on the example set by Isaac Newton.
Tolman – thought of rats as forming cognitive maps, internal representations of their environment that
were acquired as a result of active exploration. both sides found that they had to assume some kind of
representation b/w stimuli impinging on the rat and its learned behavior, but neither seemed to have a
solution to the problem of how these could be investigated.
in the case of psychological theories, different theories will operate at different levels of explanation
and focus on different issues. All of these explanations are relevant and in principle should be relatable to
each other, but none is the single correct interpretation. CONTRAST to reductionism – the view that all
scientific explanations should aim to be based on a lower level of analysis: psychology in terms of
physiology, physiology in terms of chemistry, and chemistry in terms of physics.
Aristotle – ancient philosophy;
Ayer and others – reliance on introspection, the capacity to reflect and report our on-going thoughts. Not
reliable for 2 reasons: 1) people differ in what they appear to experience in a given situation; 2) we only
consciously aware of a relatively small proportion of the mechanisms underpinning our mental life.
Galton – asked a number of people to reflect on their breakfast table from that morning and describe the
vividness of the resulting memory; what was not known to Galton – it didn’t reflect how accurate our
memories are, suggesting that accuracy depends on some nonconscious process. subjective reports
don’t provide a very solid basis for understanding how our memory works.
Psychophysics – attempt to systematically map the relationship b/w physical stimuli such as brightness
and loudness onto their perceived magnitude.
Ebbinghaus – 2-year studies on himself, first classic book on the science of memory, developed material
devoid of meaning but was verbally learnable – nonsense syllables, consonant-vowel-consonant. Served
as his own subject, always holding constant the room in which he learned, the time of day and the rate of
presentation, which was rapid, so as to avoid any temptation to attempt to find meaning in the stimuli.
Learning and forgetting curves; verbal learning – a term applied to an approach to memory that relies
principally on the learning of lists of words and nonsense syllables.
Gestalt approach – importance of internal representations rather than observable stimuli and reponses,
and to stress the active role of the rememberer; attempted to use perceptual principles to understand
memory and reasoning; emphasis on the activity of the learner in organizing material.
Bartlett – used complex materal such as folk tales from other cultures, reflecting his interest in social
psychology and stressing the importance of the rememberer’s effort after meaning; emphasizes the
study of the memory errors that people made, explaining them in terms of the participants’ cultural
assumptions about the world; depended on our internal representations – schemas.
Craik – idea of representing theories as models, and using computers to develop such models; this
information-processing approach became increasingly influential. suing the digital computer as
analogy human memory could be regarded as comprising one or more storage systems. Any memory
system requires three things, the capacity to encode, or enter information into the system, the capacity to
store it, and the capacity to retrieve it. The method of registering material or encoding determines what
and how the information is stored, which in turn will limit what can subsequently be retrieved.
How Many kinds of Memory?
1960s – information-processing approach to memory(environment sensory memory system STM
LTM) Atkinson and Shiffrin – the modal model – representative of many similar models of the
operation of human memory that were proposed at the time.
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