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Chapter 6

PSYCH 2H03 Chapter 6: The Acquisition of Memories and the Working-Memory System


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 2H03
Professor
Karin R Humphreys
Chapter
6

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Chapter6:TheAcquisitionofMemoriesandtheWorkingMemorySystem
● Summary
○ broadarchitectureofmemory,closerexaminationofworkingmemory
○ emphasisonactivenatureofworkingmemoryactivitythat’sespeciallyevident
throughdiscussionofworkingmem’s“centralexecutive”whichservesto
order/organize/controlmentallives
○ rehearsal
showsactivenatureofmemory,effectivewhenindividualengageswith
theirmemoryinsomeway
○ activityduringlearningestablishesmemoryconnections
whichcanbeusedas
retrievalroutes
Acquisition,StorageandRetrieval
● Howdoesnewinfobecomeestablishedinmemory,aretherewaysoflearningthatare
especiallyeffective,onceinfo’sstoredhowdoyoulocateit?whydoesthisprocess
sometimesfail?
● beforetherecanbenewmemorytheremustbeacquisitionprocessofgainingnew
infoandplacingitintomemory
● oncetheinfo’sbeenacquireditmustbeheldontothestoragephase
● whenyouneedtorememberthisinformationandgetitoutofstoragemustperform
retrieval
● useanalogyof“electronicmemories”inacomputer
● reasonstochallengethisapproachtomemory,however,evidenceindicatesthatwhatis
goodlearningdependsonhowthatmemoryistobeusedlateon
● acquisitionisthereforesomehowwoveninwithretrieval
● cannotseparateclaimsaboutmemoryacquisitionfromclaimsaboutmemorystorage
becausehowyoulearndependsonwhatyoualreadyknow
TheRouteintoMemory
● foralongtimetheorizingincogpsychfocusedontheprocessthroughwhichinfowas
perceivedandthenmovedintomemorystorageinformationacquisition
● eventuallythemodalmodelwascreated
● 
○ themodelstatesthatwheninfofirstarrivesit’sstoredbrieflyinsensorymemory
whichholdsontotheinputinitsrawsensoryformwhichiscalledaniconic
memory
forvisualinput,anechoicmemory
forauditory

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○ processofselectionandinterpretationthenmovesthisinfotoshortterm
memory
○ someofthisinfomaybeputintolongtermmemorywhichofferslargerand
morepermanentstorage
● Thisearlyconceptionhadsomethingsrightbutneededtobeupdatedinalotofdifferent
ways
○ theroleofsensorymemoryisthoughttoplayamuchsmallerrolethanitdoesin
themodalmodel
○ modernproposalscallshorttermmemory
workingmemoryinsteadbecausethe
functionofworkingmemoryistothinkaboutideasyou’recurrentlyworkingon
○ LTMcontainsallyourknowledgeandbeliefsevenwhenyou’renotthinkingabout
them
○ workingmemoryisnolongerthoughtofasa“place”butmoreastatus
wesay
thatideasare“inworkingmemory”meaningthey’rebeingworkedonbya
specificsetofoperations
● Themodernperspectivedoespreservesomekeyideasfromthemodalmodel,buthas
builtonsomeoftheclaims
○ workingmemoryislimitedinsize,whileLTMisenormous,ithastobetoholdall
yourknowledgebothspecificandgeneral
○ gettinginfointoworkingmemoryiseasy,butgettingthatinfointoLTMismuch
moredifficult
○ gettinginfooutofworkingmemoryisalsoeasybecauseit’sattheforefrontof
yourmind,findinginfoinLTMismuchmoredifficult
○ thecontentsofworkingmemoryarefragile,ifyoushifttoanewtopictheymight
belost
○ LTMisnotlinkedtocurrentfocusofthoughtsandismuchlessfragile
● WorkingMemoryandLongtermMemory:OneMemoryofTwo?
○ manystudiesaskpeopletolistentoaseriesofwords,immediatelyafterthey’re
readparticipantsareaskedtorepeatbackasmanywordsastheycanin
whateverordertheywantthisisafreerecallprocedure
■ peopleusuallyremember1215wordsonthistestmostlikelyto
rememberthefirstfewwords(primacyeffect)andthelastfewwords
(recencyeffect)
■ thisresultsinaUshapedcurverelatingpositionofthewordinthelistto
thelikelihoodofrecall
○ therecencyeffectisexplainedbythefactthatthelastfewwordsarestillin
workingmemory,that’swhatthepersonwascurrentlyworkingon
○ theprimacyeffectisexplainedbecausethefirstfewwordsreceivethemost
memoryrehearsalgivingthefirstfewwordsthehighestchanceofbeingputinto
LTM
○ sothelastfewwordscomefromworkingmemory,thefirstfewfromLTM
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