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Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Memory

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Carleton University
PSYC 1001
Vessela Stamenova

Chapter 7: Memory Connecting Learning and Memory  Learning: a change in an organism’s behaviour as a result of experience  Memory: the ability to recall or recognize previous experience  Memory trace: a mental representation of a previous experience Memory Terms  Memory: the cognitive processes of encoding, storing, and retrieving memory  Encoding: the processing of information into the memory system  Storage: the retention of recorded information over time  Retrieval: the process of getting information out of memory storage Three Stage Processing Model  Sensory memory (very brief, basic concepts)  Short-term memory (brief, elaborated concepts)  Long-term memory (not brief, very complicated)  Event (sensory input) > sensory memory (attention & awareness needed/encoding) > STM (encoding/retrieving) >< LTM Storage: Sensory Memory  Sperling’s Memory Task (1960)  9 letters shown for 1/20 of a second  Whole report: 5 items remembered  Partial report: better performance o Dependent on delay between stimulus and tone o Also dependent on the interval o High tone (BCXY), medium tone (NFRW), low tone (TZKD)  Fleeting photographic memory – iconic memory o Sensory memory (visual-iconic, auditory-echoic) > Short-term memory >long-term memory  Retention of small amounts of material over a period of a few seconds  We attend to a fraction of the information in our environment and commit it to STM  Rehearsal: repetitive verbalizing or thinking of information  STM also constrained in capacity Short-term Memory Capacity  Most people remember about 7 items (numbers, letter, objects, etc.); plus or minus 2  Chunking can help o The limitations of STM can be partially overcome by “chunking” information together o Chunking depends on knowledge/experience o Chunking: Organize the information into meaningful units Working Memory  A memory system that maintains and manipulates information in the mind  Helps us perform complex tasks  Various models: most assume that working memory acts as a form of mental workspace  Central Executive / Memory o Phonological loop, episodic buffer, visuospatial sketchpad WM: The Phonological Loop  Stores auditory information in STM and allows for articulatory rehearsal  Limited in capacity  Items registered as memory traces, which decay within a few seconds  Sub-vocal or vocal rehearsal  Phonological similarity effect  The word length effect WM: Visuospatial Sketchpad  Retention of visual and/or spatial information over a brief period of time  Where and what did you see?  Performance is sensitive to number of objects but not to number of features per object WM: The Central Executive  An attentionally limited system that selects and manipulates material in the subsystems  Serves as a controller WM: The Episodic Buffer  A storage system that can hold about 4 chunks of information in a multidimensional code  Allows the various subcomponents to work together  Links the various systems  Provides links to perceptual information and long-term memory Sensory information > STM > (consolidation) > LTM > (rehearsal) > STM Storage: Long Term Memory  Name as many animals as you can.  What is 45 + 21?  Who wrote Romeo and Juliet?  Who is this person?  What steps do you follow to make spaghetti?  How do you ride a bike?  LTM o Explicit (declarative memory)  Semantic memory  Episodic memory o Implicit (nondeclarative memory, procedural)  Conditioning, skills, priming Two Categories of Memory 1. Implicit Memory  Memory in which subjects can demonstrate knowledge but cannot explicitly retrieve the information; unconscious learning  Procedural Memory o Ability to recall a movement sequence or how to perform an act or behaviour 2. Explicit Memory  Memory in which a subject can retrieve an item and indicate that he or she knows that the retrieved item is a the correct item; conscious memory  Declarative Memory o Ability to recount what one knows, to detail the time, place, and circumstances of events; often lost in amnesia 1. Episodic Memory: autobiographical memory for events pegged to specific time and place contexts 2. Semantic Memory: knowledge about things Storage: LTM  Not limited by capacity o “Total memory capacity of a world’s worth of computers is not equal to the capacity of one human brain…”  Not limited in terms of duration o Information stored properly is infinite U-Shaped Serial Position Curve  Sensory memory > STM (recency effect) > LTM (primary effect) Primary vs. Recency Effects  Primary: remember first words in the list (LTM)  Recency: remember the last words in the list (STM) Retrieval Terms  Recall: retrieval of information learned previously (fill in the blank, short answer questions)  Recognition: identification of items that were previously learned (MC, matching questions)  Relearning: if you’ve learned something previously, but not used it recently, you will relearn it faster than if it had never been learned State-Dependent Learning  Main idea: when you encode information, your “surroundings” influence how you encode (the context) Context Effects  Being in the area where you encoded the memories can bring them back in force o Returning to the halls of your middle school  Context effects are responsible for déjà vu moments o In a familiar situation, it’s loaded with retrieval cues that unconsciously bring back earlier experiences Reconstructive Nature of Memory  The DRM Paradigm  The words presented activated the general “theme” because they are all related to that theme  As a result, the word “sleep” o Seemed familiar, i.e. related to the theme at hand o Felt like it was part of the list Clustering  Grouping similar or related words together o Conceptual hierarchies o Schemas: organized cluster of knowledge about a particular object or event abstracted from previous experience with the object or event How Do We Encode?  Stimuli that we sense and become aware of are encoded o Either through automatic processing or effortful processing What Do We Encode?  We can encode information in various ways: o Based on its image – visual o Based on its sound (words) – acoustic o Based on the meaning – semantic  BRAIN o Is it in capital letters? o Does it rhyme with crane? o Would it fit in the blank: The ________ helps us process information. What is the Best Way of Encoding?  Remembering of information is better when it’s encoded at a deeper level 
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