Chapter 8 Review
Key Terms from Lecture
Encoding specificity – Refers to the effectiveness of cues that are present during both study and
test. The more specific and relevant the cue, the more effective the cue will be for retrieval.
Importantly, the cue must have been part of the original learning/study episode.
Direct/explicit memory test – Type of memory test in which individuals are asked to recall
specific past experiences.
Indirect/implicit memory test – Type of memory test in which individuals are not asked to
recall specific past experiences. Rather, tests of this type measure the unconscious influence of
Context-dependent memory – A general principle stating that the greater the overlap in the
contexts of the study event and the test event, the more likely it is that you will remember
information. An example is the lighting, background music, and smells in a coffee shop during
both study and test for an online midterm exam.
Familiarity – A type of memory judgment based on the sense of knowing something without
being able to remember the contextual details experienced during study. For example, knowing
that one has met an individual before, but not knowing where or when the individual was met.
Recollection – A type of memory judgment based on the remembering of contextual details
about a memory. For example, recalling that one has met an individual by the punch bowl
during the previous year’s Halloween party at a friend’s apartment.
Source memory – Memory for contextual details, e.g., who, what, where, when.
External context – Variables relating to the environment such as noise level, the room in which
an experiment is administered, morning vs. night, the friendliness of the experimenter, etc.
Internal context – Variables relating to the individual such as arousal level, fatigue, emotional
Mood congruent effects – Refers to the bias observed when an individual selectively attends to
and recalls information that is consistent with his/her present mood.
Mood-dependent memory effects – Refers to the observation that material learned while in a
particular mood is best remembered when a person is tested in the same mood state.
Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon – Refers to the state in which one has the feeling of knowing
an answer without being able to produce it. Accessibility vs. Availability – Refers to the argument of whether retrieval failure is due to not
being able to get to the information in storage (accessibility failure) or due to loss of information
in storage (loss in availability).
Key Concepts from Lecture
1. Type of retrieval tasks
a. Direct/explicit memory tests – Type of memory test that typically uses a specific
contextual cue for remembering.
b. Indirect/implicit memory tests – Type of memory test measuring the
unconscious influence of experience such as priming.
Direct/explicit memory tests Indirect/implicit memory tests
Free recall (e.g., recalling word lists in any Lexical decision (e.g., asking participants to
order) decide whether a string of letters spells out a
word or not)
Cued recall (e.g., recalling target words
associated with specific cues such as another Word fragment completion (e.g., asking
word presented together during study) participants to fill out/complete missing letters
to form a word)
Forced-choice recognition (e.g., forcing
participants to choose among a set of answers) Word stem completion (e.g., participants are
presented with part of a word and are asked to
Yes/No recognition (e.g., asking participants generate letters to form a complete word)
whether or not they saw a word presented
before during study) Conceptual fluency (e.g., asking participants
to generate words that are related to a given
a. Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon
i. Brown & McNeil (1966)
- Participants were presented with a definition of a word and were asked to
generate the corresponding word.
- For definitions that participants could not generate a word for,
participants were asked if they were in a tip-of-the-tongue (ToT) state.
- Results showed that while in a ToT state, participants were better at
generating information related to the word but not the actual word itself.
b. Retrieval cues
i. Recognition generally better than recall, depending on the cues at test.
ii. Encoding specificity principle (Tulving, 1978)
- Refers to the effectiveness of cues that are present during both study and
- The more specific and relevant the cue, the more effective the cue will be
- Importantly, the cue must have been part of the original learning/study
episode. - Tulving & Thompson (1973) showed that:
1. Cues help to reinstate the original learning episode.
2. Cues need to be specific; general cues do not help.
3. Cues need to be present during the original learning episode.
c. Factors affecting retrieval success
i. Cue-target associative strength – the stronger the association between
cue and target, the greater chance for retrieval success.
ii. Number of cues – relevant cues have an additive effect on retrieval
success, i.e., more relevant cues lead to greater retrieval success.
iii. Strength of the target memory – if the original memory is strong or
encoded well, the more likely retrieval will be successful.
iv. Retrieval mode – having multiple episodic tasks in a row helps one to get
in the right frame of mind for better memory performance.
v. Retrieval strategy – using strategies that tap into the original encoding
conditions and cognitive processes helps retrieval success, e.g., transfer-
3. Recognition memory
a. Process Dissociation Procedure (Jacoby, 1991) – used to determine relative
contributions of familiarity and recollection to recognition memory.
i. Participants are presented with two word lists for study. Each list uses a
different type of context for presentation (e.g., paper vs. computer).
ii. Two types of tests are administered:
1. Inclusion test – “Was the word presented in either List 1 or List
- Correct recognition = Recollection + Familiarity
2. Exclusion test – “Was the word presented in List 1?”
- Familiarity = False alarms (items incorrectly claimed as having
been presented in List 1 when they
were actually presented in List 2).
- Recollection = (Correct recog. of words from List 1) – (Familiarity)
Tulving’s (1985) remember condition. Tulving’s (1985) know condition.
Slower and requires more attention. Fast and automatic.
More like recall or cued recall. Based on perception of a memory’s strength.
4. Source monitoring – Recalling where and how one learns something, rather than
recalling the material itself.
Recalling the context (who, what, where, when) of a memory.
In Jacoby’s (1991) process dissociation procedure, monitoring
whether a word was presented in List 1 or List 2.
5. Context-dependent memory
a. Experimental variables i. Materials (sentences vs. words, pictures vs. words, etc.)
ii. Tasks (read words upside down vs. right side up, rhyme vs. meaning, etc.)
Graf & Ryan (1990)
- Right side up / Normal (N) – vs. – Upside down (U) word orientation
- Pleasantness judgment (1 = very unpleasant; 5 = very pleasant) of each word.
- Four study-test conditions:
- Explicit yes/no recognition test – “Was this word on the study list?”
- Implicit word identification priming test – Very brief (40 ms) word
presentations in each condition
and participants were asked to
identify the words.
Recognition: U-U > N-U
N-N > U-N
Priming: U-U > N-U
N-N > U-N
b. External context (noise levels, outside vs. inside, the experimenter, etc.)
c. Internal context (drug effects, arousal, fatigue, emotional state, etc.)
6. Mood congruent effects a. Selective attention to and processing of information that is in line with one’s
7. Mood-dependent memory effects
a. Refers to the observation that material learned in a particular mood is best
remembered when a person is tested in the same mood state, whether positive or
b. Three conditions leading to mood-dependent memory effects:
i. Deep and lasting moods
ii. Internally generated events for eliciting mood states
iii. Use of a minimal amount of cues other than the mood itself.
c. Eich, Macaulay, & Ryan (1998)
i. Continuous music and memory mood induction technique
1. Pleasant mood – Participants listen to fast, cheerful music.
2. Unpleasant mood – Participants listen to slow, sad music.
3. Participants asked to recall a sad or happy memory and try to
“relive” the experience as deeply as possible.
ii. Study: Recall events elicited by neutral cue words.
iii. Test: Two days later, induce same or different mood state and ask the
participant to recall the neutral probe/cue words from the previous
iv. Results: Participants recalled more items, regardless of whether the
memories were happy or sad, when the test mood matched the
Key Terms from Lecture
Autobiographical memory – Type of memory for information related to oneself. It involves
both episodic and semantic memories. Personal semantics – Memory for facts related to oneself such as where one was born, what
kind of car one drives, how many cousins one has, etc.
Self-schema – Refers to general characteristics related to oneself such as likes and dislikes.
Diary method – Method using cues taken from diary entries to study autobiographical
Memory probe methods – Methods involving cues to elicit autobiographical memories for
Autobiographical knowledge base – facts about ourselves and our past that form the basis for
Experienced self – the “me.”
Working self – our self-schema or knowledge of oneself that is constantly being updated by
goals and new experiences.
Infantile amnesia – Refers to the phenomena that people tend to recall relatively few memories
from the first 2 to 5 years of life.
Reminiscence bump – Phrase coined by Rubin, Wetzler, and Nebes (1986) to describe the
observation that people over the age of 40 tend to report more memories from the ages of 15 – 30
years than other periods in their past.
Life narrative – A coherent account of who we are and how we got here that is built up through
Flashbulb memory – A special case of autobiographical memory for major events with an
exceptional level of vividness and detail.
Repression – Active forgetting for psychological reasons.
Functional amnesia – The loss of memory for past events when there is no biological evidence
leading to the loss. Examples include psychogenic fugue and psychogenic amnesia.
Situation-specific amnesia – forgetting of a single, specific event.
Psychogenic fugue – Case of memory loss in which almost all memories of one’s personal past
Psychogenic amnesia – Refers to the inability to recall the time period around an anxiety-
provoking event. Key Concepts from Lecture
1. Characteristics of autobiographical memories:
a. Depends on both episodic and semantic memory systems.
b. Involves personal semantics – Memory for facts related to oneself such as
birthdate, birthplace, etc.
c. Involves self-schema – General characteristics related to oneself such as likes and
d. Autobiographical memories play a unique role in our lives; they define oneself.
e. Autobiographical memories are difficult to study experimentally because the
experimenter lacks control over the learning situations.
2. Functions of autobiographical memories (Williams, Conway, & Cohen, 2008):
a. Directive functions – using past experiences to solve problems.
b. Social functions – bonding people together or separating them.
c. Self-representational functions – creating and maintaining our self-image.
d. Coping with adversity – remembering happier times during difficult times to help
cope with the situation; remembering previous successes in coping with past
3. Overlapping functions of autobiographical memories – findings from Bluck et al.’s
(2005) Thinking About Life Experiences (TALE) Questionnaire:
a. Autobiographical memories serve a variety of overlapping purposes, including:
i. Directive functions
ii. Self-related functions – building a self-image
iii. Nurturing existing relationships
iv. Developing new social relationships
4. Methods for studying autobiographical memory
a. Diary method
i. Participants record events in a diary at set intervals and memories for
those events are tested. Examples of testing methods:
1. Ask participants to put the events in chronological order (e.g.,
2. Ask participants to recall past episodes from cues based on actual
diary entries (e.g., Wagenaar, 1986).
Wagenaar (1986) found that manipulating the number of types of
cues he provided to himself affected his ability to remember
- Who, what, and where cues were equally effective in
prompting a memory.
- When cues by themselves were less efficient.
- Although the recall task was often difficult and unpleasant,
he found that he was able to eventually recall most events
with the right cues and with the help of others involved.
b. Memory probe methods, e.g., Crovitz and Shiffman (1974): i. Cue-word method – Ask participants to recall an autobiographical
memory related to a presented cue word. For example, words such as
“invitation,” “holiday,” “funeral,” etc. may be presented and the
participant responds with specific autobiographical memories.
ii. Time-period cueing – Ask participants to remember something that
happened to them during a particular time period. For example, asking
participants to recall memories from high school, college, etc.
1. People are bad at recalling memories based on temporal cues,
especially when there are multiple events clustered around the
same time period.
c. Count the number of memories and examine their quality such as characteristics,
details, accuracy (if possible, for example, check with a spouse), etc.
5. Conway’s (2005) theory of autobiographical memory: The Autobiographical Knowledge
a. A system that retains knowledge concerning the experienced self, i.e., the “me,”
consisting of and based on the interactions between:
i. Autobiographical knowledge base – a series of episodes that are important
to our life history.
ii. The working self – consists of our self-schema or knowledge of oneself,
personal details, and future goals. It is constantly being updated by goals
and new experiences. It is also shaped by one’s family background, peers,
myths, and stereotypes.
6. Periods of relative lack or abundance of memories
a. Infantile amnesia – The phenomena that people tend to recall relatively few
memories from the first 2 to 5 years of life.
i. Possible reasons for infantile amnesia:
1. Underdeveloped hippocampus (a structure shown to be important
for memory storage and retrieval).
2. Underdeveloped sense of self. 3. Freudian repression?
b. Reminiscence bump (Rubin, Wetzler, & Nebes, 1986)
- Perhaps there is a bias in reporting more memories from this period because they
think about this period more often?
- In other words, it may be that people are reporting more from this time period
rather than more memories being “remembered” from this time period.
- The life narrative (Gluck & Bluck, 2007)
i. A coherent account of who we are and how we got here that is built up
ii. Involves a schema or set of milestones that define “what is supposed to
happen in your life.” For example, age of first love, marriage, job
promotion, etc. Bernsten and Rubin (2004) noticed that most of these
events occur during the reminiscence bump.
- Social value
i. Reasons for remembering may change as we get older, leading to
recalling different memories.
Young adults may place more emphasis on social interactions,
building relationships, and building self-esteem.
Middle aged adults, however, have less emphasis on building
relationships but more emphasis on maintaining self-schema.
Older adults place importance on educational value so they want
to tell their life story to teach others from their experiences and
lessons learned. An example is