NSCI 201 Chapter Notes - Chapter 31: Short-Term Memory, Explicit Memory, Long-Term Memory

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NSCI 201 (25.31)
Memory
14th April 2016
Memory!
The major qualitative categories of human memory!
This is one of the possible organization diagrams of the memory systems we have in our brains.
Within declarative, semantic and episodic memory. Rats have roughly equivalent memory
systems, however not great at ‘declaring’. Nondeclarative— hard to explain. (e.g., motor: how to
ride a bike.)!
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These two memory systems divided quite differently in locations in the brain—subserving same
purpose. !
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The major temporal categories of human memory!
We have different memory subsystems, each has a different capacity, but all feeding to each
other. Immediate memory— representation of current motion, lasts for a transient period of time. !
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All representations of memory are called engrams. Most of immediate/working memories are
forgotten. Forgetting and remembering are active processes, filtered according to importance.!
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Some sensory experience is prioritised to working memory—where our conscious representation
of the world is. This is short-term memory, where we can integrate new memories and access
old ones. Limited capacity, can be easily displaced. Based on concurrent firing. !
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Information stored in long-term memory is actually largely made-up, based on longer-term
changes in relative synaptic weights. !
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NSCI 201 (25.31)
Memory
14th April 2016
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Phylogenetic memory!!
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Another memory subsystem— Phylogenetic memory is
a very evolved form. !
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At baseline, we have differential responses to a variety
of stimuli. (Eg. in baby birds— instinctual reaction to
different shadows). !
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If the shadow resembles a predator— for instance,
wings and a short head, hiding behaviour. !
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Monkeys fear snakes in much the same way without
being taught; innate fear is also observed in humans. !
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Some of our memory systems are hard-coded into
development; learning on top of this pre-existing basis
helps to influence our behaviour. !
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Testing priming effects!
‘Priming’ comes from unconscious memory that can affect our future behaviour. Subjects are
often not aware of this process. !
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This experiment: Subjects asked to read a list (list A). A few days later, asked to complete test—
will often use words from list A.!
!
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NSCI 201 (25.31)
Memory
14th April 2016
!
Fallibility of human memory— similar priming experiments!
Experiment: subjects given initial list, asked to recall words on it a few days later. If words have
underlying cognitive affiliations, e.g. ‘sweet’, may affect retention, inference, because the
extraction of content and meaning is prioritised over the actual word. !
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Increasing the digit span by practice, and the development of associational strategies!
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Idea of having short term (working) memory limited to
5-9 items is true in a sense— however, the definition of
‘item’ is more plastic and flexible.!
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If these items are completely independent, with little
context, capacity is lowered. !
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In our daily lives, however, most things have contextual
associations and patterns— ie, mnemonics are useful
in aiding retention. !
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