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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Memories.docx

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PSY 102
John Turtle

Chapter 7 Memory 1. “Common Sense” Models of Memory (to discuss their shortcomings) 2. The Cognitive Model of Memory
 A. Memory as a Reconstructive Process
 B. Memory Processes and Stages
 C. Application: Eyewitness Memory 
 3. Improving Your Memory
 A. “Paying attention”
 B. Effective encoding
 C. Retrieval strategies 
 1. “Common Sense” Models of Memory  our goal here is to scrutinize so called “common sense” models, discuss their shortcomings, and set up our subsequent discussion on what psychology now has to offer about memory, which is the Cognitive Model  “common sense” models differ primarily on the question: “Is memory a permanent thing?” “There’s no way you could still remember that!” “No one could forget something like that!”  the “Freudian Model” suggests that all memories, especially for “traumatic” events, remain perfectly intact forever but are often inaccessible (repressed) under normal conditions, so a special strategy must be used to gain access. If they want to remember it must go through special strategy- psychoanalytical process ex hypnosis, dream interpretation, word association, or so called truth-serum  An idea about 1895-1915 that has remained a part of Western Culture, although not a major part of modern psychology.  The modern mainstream psychology view is that there is no scientifically acceptable evidence to support the Freudian model as the way that memories are stored, although its still popular in dramatic portrayals of memory phenomena.  And some therapists hold this view especially concerning alleged repressed memories of childhood. Sexual abuse as an explanation for adult problems like anorexia, failed relationships, depression etc, with tragic consequences o but there's hasn't been any scientifically-acceptable evidence over the past 100 years to support the Freudian model as the way that memories are stored  the “Videotape Model” also assumes that at least some memories remain perfectly intact, like a videotape of the event. Updated version of Freudian Model. Play it back exactly how it occurred.  but has the same limitations as the Freudian model: no supporting evidence and much contradictory evidence  we’ll see that the current mainstream cognitive view of memory views all memories as vulnerable to forgetting, distortion and inaccuracy.  Photographic memory: certainly some people show better memory than others and most people use imagery as a part of their memory. No credible evidence to sugest that there has ever been a person with photographic memory, if you interpret photograph to mean: o Genetic, instant, passive/effortless, exhaustive o Anders Ericson video clip including Rajan pg 285  There area few people with outstanding memory abilities that still challenge our understanding of how memory works. A.J described on pg 284  George Finn, Kim Peek (“Rain Men?”)  Daniel Tammet “60 minutes” Clip, has symptoms of autism  the “Simple Biological Model” claims just the opposite of the other two models – that all memories necessarily decay over time  but research findings suggest that not all parts of all memories are necessarily susceptible to “decay” over time  acknowledges that memories are stored in the brain and that the brain is composed of cells, and cells are known to die off at an apparently alarming rate. So memories must decay over time?  Cells died off = memories lost, and no retrieval strategy can access them right?  Research findings suggest that complex memories are NOT stored in single cells and are therefore not necessarily susceptible to decay over time just because some brain cells die off.  Although new research suggest more of a role for individual cells than was previously believed (e.g “the halle berry neuron” described on pg 308  It’s possible although not guaranteed for memories to exist for long periods of time. Especially if they are repeatedly reactivated through recall, even if we acknowledge the biological limitations of the brain. 2. The Cognitive Model of Memory  contains a little bit of everything to address the shortcomings of the other models  Takes good stuff from common sense models of memory o From the Freudian model, we recognize that there might be information in memory that is difficult to access. o From the Videotape model, we borrow phrases familiar to most people to help them recall (eg; slow motion, fast forward) o From the biological model, we acknowledge the biological basis of memory (e.g processing limitations, disabilities, injuries)  An emphasis on practical problems such as police procedures, instead of on just laboratory studies.  Recognizes examples of dramatic memory performance and failure that need to be accounted for  Recognizes the crucial role of brain physiology as well as non memory factors such as motivation to remember. A. Memory as a Reconstructive Process There is no videotape experience  memories are not stored as exact replicas of our experiences, and do not allow us to passively reproduce an experience from some stored information  instead, memories are the result of reconstruction: reactivating connections among brain cells that were made when something was experienced or learned (called the connectionist model)  there is no brain cell for a particular complex memory, or a categorized videotape-like file to access. o So events aren’t “reproduced” when they’re remembered – they are reconstructed ( you built that house out of lego, but you stopped thinking about it and the pieces got put in the box again. You need to rebuild it from scratch)  The current view is that memories are the result of reactivating the pattern of connections among brain cells that were made when something was first experienced or learned.  So a memory is represented by he reactivation of a relatively unique pattern of neural activity. Its not the neuron, it’s the PATTERN.  Loss of some cells over time and overlap with similar patterns means that some accurate  information will typically be lost and some inaccurate info will be added.  A central theme here is the notion of a memory “schema” o Schema: a cognitively economical strategy for combining similar events and information into a common pattern of neuron connections. Ex. Romantic comedies, first dates, first classes, tendency to lump those together and create “1 size fits all” for memories o Especially detailed schemas are sometimes called “scripts” like a restaurant script, first-date script etc.. Ex. Coffee spilled on you, makes you recall it.  Schemas allow us to retrieve examples make inferences, and draw conclusions from memory that are mostly accurate o But we don’t necessarily have all the details of the individual events and original information available The Cognitive Model of Memory: B. Memory Processes and Stages  “stimuli” (things we can see, hear, taste, smell, or touch) have to go through many stages of processing by our body and brain if they are to be remembered later  information can be lost at each of these stages o some loss is beyond our control, some loss we can do something about  the first process is perception and the first stage is sensory memory o sensory memory holds information very briefly (less than half a second in some cases) o information is lost here if it is not quickly picked up by the second process...  the second process is attention and the second stage is short-term memory (STM)  characteristics of STM d
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