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Chapter 7

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Queen's University
PSYC 221
Yaroslav Konar

Page 172-198, 26 pages Page 1 of7 Chapter 7: Long-Term Memory – Encoding & Retrieval ENCODING: GETTING INFO INTO LTM • Encoding: The process of acquiring information and transferring it into LTM, e.g. by rehearsal, by thinking of other rhyming words, or by using it in a sentence. • Coding refers to the form in which information is represented, such as a word being coded visually, by its sound, or by its meaning. • Retrieval: The process of transferring information from LTM to working memory. One of the main factors that determines how one can retrieve information from LTM is the way information was encoded during learning! Maintenance Rehearsal & Elaborative Rehearsal • Rehearsal is the process of repeating information over and over. • Maintenance rehearsal can keep information in working memory, but is not an effective way of transferring this information will into LTM = bottom-up • Elaborative rehearsal is more effective, occurring when you think about the meaning of an item or make connections between the item and something else you know = top-down Levels-of-Processing Theory • Craik & Lockhart (1972): Levels of Processing (LOP) theory where memory depends on how information is encoded, with deeper processing resulting in better encoding and retrieval than shallow processes. Basics of Levels of Processing • Depth of processing is determined by the nature of the task during encoding; specifically, memory is superior when a meaningful connection has been made between an item and something else, e.g. how useful an object might be on an uninhabited island vs. unmeaningful counting number of vowels • Shallow processing involves little attention to meaning, with focus on physical features (is word in lowercase or capitals? Number of vowels?). It occurs in maintenance rehearsal when an item is repeated without considering its meaning. • Deep processing involves close attention, focusing on an item’s meaning and relating it to something else. This occurs during elaborative rehearsal and results in better memory than shallow processing. • Method: A question is presented, followed by a word, and then the subject’s response. Shallow processing by asking questions about the word’s physical characteristics, deeper processing about the word’s sound, and deepest processing involved the word’s meaning. Therefore shallow/deep is more continuum than categorical o Shallow: Is the word printed in capital letters? o Deeper: Does the word [pain] rhyme with train? o Deepest: Does the word [car] fit into the sentence “He saw a _______ on the street?” o Subjects are then given a memory test to see how well they recalled the words; deepest processing is associated with best memory recall. Difficulty in Defining Depth of Processing • Describing relative depths of processing can be based on common sense, but sometimes this is quite difficult, e.g. using a word in a sentence vs. thinking about its utility in a zombie apocalypse, which is deeper? • One way to determine this is to pit the two procedures against each other in a memory experiment by the method above. Page 172-198, 26 pages Page 2 of7 • Let’s say we find the apocalypse task resulted in better memory; from this we conclude the apocalypze task results in deeper processing, which allows us to predict memory recall will be better  circular reasoning since depth of processing has not been defined independently of memory performance • For this reason, levels-of-processing theory not used beyond idea that retrieval is affected by encoding Research Showing that Encoding Influences Retrieval • Various types of experiments that vary encoding and measure how retrieval (memory performance) is affected Placing Words in a Complex Sentence • Memory for a word is much better when the word is presented in a complex sentence, e.g. “She cooked the chicken” not as good as “the great bird swooped down and carried off the struggling chicken” • The complex sentence creates more connections between the word to be remembered and other things, which act as cues to help us retrieve the target word. Forming Visual Images • Bower & Winzenz (1970): Paired-associate learning in which a list of word pairs is presented for 5 seconds each, then later the first word of each pair is presented with the subject’s task to remember its partner word. • One group was told to silently repeat the pairs during presentation, and another to form a mental picture in which the two items were interacting; participants in the second group had recall twice as accurate • Use of visual imagery, images in the head that connect words visually, can create connections to enhance memory in associative learning Linking Words to Yourself • Self-Reference Effect: Memory is better if you are asked to relate a word to yourself. • Rogers (1977): Subjects presented with a question for 3 seconds followed by a brief pause and then a word, task to answer “yes” or “no”. o Physical Characteristic of Word: “Printed in small case?” Word: happy o Rhyming: “Rhymes with happy?” Word: snappy o Meaning: “Means the same as happy?” Word: upbeat o Self-Reference: “Describes you?” Word: happy • Subjects more likely to remember words that they rated as describing themselves compared to the other conditions that also elicited “yes” responses – self-reference at 30% compared to 14% for “deep” meaning • Likely because the words become connected to something the subjects know well – themselves, therefore resulting in a richer and more detailed representation and thus better memory Generating Information • Generation Effect: Generating material actively, rather than passively receiving, enhances learning and retention. • Slameka & Graf (1978): A read group that reads pairs of related words such as king-crown, horse- saddle. A generate group that fills in the blank with a word related to the first, e.g. king-cr____, horse- sad_____ • Subjects then presented with the first word in each pair and told to indicate the second word; subjects who had generated the second word were able to reproduce 28% more word pairs than the subjects who just read them. Organizing Information Page 172-198, 26 pages Page 3 of 7 • Given a list such as “apple, desk, shoe, sofa, plum, chair, cherry, goat, grape, hat”, during recall one tends to spontaneously group similar items together such as “apple, plum, cherry, grape” and “shoe, hat”. • Remembering words in a particular category may serve as a retrieval cue to help a person remember information stored in memory for other words in this category, e.g. apple as retrieval cue for other fruits • Bower (1969): What if words are presented in an organized way from the beginning? Material to be learned is presented in “organizational trees” that organize words according to categories, e.g. minerals grouped into precious stones, rare metals, etc.  like chunking seen before • A group of subjects studied 4 separate trees for minerals, animals, clothing, and transportation for 1 minute each and are then asked to recall as many words as possible from all four. In the recall, they tended to organize their responses in the same way the trees were, and recalled an average of 73 words from all four. • Another group that saw four trees but had it randomized such that each tree contained a random assortment of minerals, animals, clothing, and transportation. These subjects only recalled 21 words from all four  organizing material into structured groups results in substantially better recall. • On the other hand, preventing organization would reduce the ability to remember. • Bransford & Johnson (1972): A nonsensical passage accompanied by an image describing the passage’s events shown before reading enhanced recall of the passage, compared to subjects shown the descriptive image after reading or subjects not shown context. • The picture provides a context, or mental framework that helps the reader link one sentence to the next in a meaningful story, so it is easier to comprehend and remember • Mnemonic Devices: Anti-chunking, instead of grouping information based on meaning, we remove meaning to create a retrieval cue. E.g. SOH CAH TOA Testing • Testing Effect: Being tested on material to be remembered results in better memory than just rereading it • Roediger & Karpicke (2006): First, college students read prose passages for 7mins, then solve math problems for 2mins as a break. • The testing group took a 7mins recall test where they were asked to write down as much of the passage they could remember in no particular order. The rereading group were given 7mins to reread the passage. • Then, after a delay of either 5 mins, 2 days, or 1 week, subjects were given the recall test in which they wrote down what they remembered. With a 5mins delay, little difference between the two groups. With 2 days and 1 week, both groups’ performances decreased; however, the performance of the testing group dropped much less after the 2-day and 1-week delays •  Words in complex sentence, forming visual image [paired associate learning], self-reference effect, generation effect, organizing information [retrieval cues], testing effect Page 172-198, 26 pages Page 4 of7 RETRIEVAL: GETTING INFO OUT OF MEMORY • Retrieval is needed for encoded information to be used, and most failures of memory are failures in retrieval Retrieval Cues • Retrieval Cues: Words of other stimuli that help us remember information stored in our memory • Location can be a retrieval cue, as being in a particular place can stimulate memories associated with that place. Sounds like a particular song, or particular smells can all act as retrieval cues • In free recall, a participant is simply asked to recall stimuli. In cued recall, the participant is presented with retrieval cues to aid in the recall of previously experienced stimuli. • Tulving & Pearlstone (1966): Presented subjects with lists of words to remember, drawn from specific categories such as birds (pigeon, swallow) or furniture (chair, dresser) although the categories were not explicitly indicated. Subjects in the cued recall group were asked to recall the words and were provided with the names of the categories; they performed better at 75% than 40% of free recall group. • Mantyla (1986): Subjects presented with list of 600 nouns, such as banana and told to write down three words they associated with each, such as yellow, bunches, tropical. When given a surprise memory test and presented with the three words they had created, 90% accuracy in recalling the original word. • If subjects presented with three cues generated by someone else, 55% accuracy. If presented with cues generated by others without seeing original noun, only 17% -- even if one would expect possible to infer from clues. • Retrieval cues are significantly more effective when they are created by the person whose
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