Psych 2H03: Human Learning and Cognition
Chapter 5: Short-Term Memory and Working Memory
Learning: the permanent change in behaviour that results from experience.
Memory: the mental operations that store information as well as recover and
retrieve it at appropriate times.
Short-term memory (STM): memory that contains our moment-to-moment
conscious thoughts and perceptions; its contents endure only as long as we are
paying attention to them.
Working Memory (WM): the set of mechanisms that underlies short-term memory
and communicates with long-term memory; a semipermanent memory store that
endures for a lifetime and aids in learning new information.
Retroactive interference: hindrance that occurs when new information makes it
difficult to remember previously learned information.
Proactive interference: inference that occurs when previously learned information
inhibits the ability to remember new information.
Rehearsal: paying attention to items in short-term memory.
Maintenance rehearsal: saying something repeatedly to keep it in mind. This sort
of rote learning keeps items in short-term memory, but does not guarantee
permanent ability to recall them.
Elaborative rehearsal: thinking about meaningful relationships among items to be
learned and focusing on how they connect to other things you know. This type of
strategy often results in long-term recall and recognition of the items learned.
Serial exhaustive search: examining every item in short-term memory in its
entirety and continuing to search even after the item has been found.
Serial position effect: the probability of recalling items at the beginning and end of
a list is higher than the probability of recalling items in the middle of a list.
Primacy effect: better recall of the first items of a list.
Recency effect: better recall of the last items of a list.
Negative recency: a tendency to recall items from the beginning of list (because
they have been rehearsed) better than items from the end of a list. Modality effect: the different recall pattern of list items when they are visually or
Phonological loop: a subsystem in working memory dedicated to the temporary
storage of sound-based information and representations.
Phonological store: a component of the phonological loop that acts as a reservoir
to store acoustic representations of a stimulus.
Articulatory control process: a component of the phonological loop that
automatically refreshes and maintains the elements in the phonological store as if
they were being rehearsed through a subvocal process.
Visuospatial sketchpad: a component of working memory responsible for storing
visually presented information, such as drawings, or remembering kinaesthetic
(motor) movements, such as dance steps.
Visual cache: a component of the visuospatial sketchpad that temporarily stores
visual information from perceptual experience and contains colour, form, and some
spatial information of what is perceived.
Inner scribe: a component of the visuospatial sketchpad that performs at least two
functions. First, it refreshes all the information in the visuospatial sketchpad; and
second, it briefly stores spatial relationships associated with bodily movements.
Episodic buffer: a component of working memory that acts an an integrative
system that places events occurring in the visuospatial sketchpad and the
phonological loop into a coherent sequence, along with the memory of the goals that
initiated those events.
Central Executive: a component of working memory that coordinates the activities
of the visuospatial sketchpad, phonological loop, and episodic buffer; it also
communicates with long-term memory via the episodic buffer. It is not a memory