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psyc 325 - ch 3 definition -WM

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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 325
Mario Liotti

Working MemoryWorking memoryNeural structures and cognitive processes that maintain accessibility of information for short periods of time in active conscious stateEx Rehearserepeat direction to keep it fresh in mind phone numbers Used to be called shortterm memoryActive contents of consciousness can be considered consciousness itself 1Shortterm memory systemtemporarily hold information over short period of time unless information is continually refreshed or rehearsedmaintained indefinitely in WM but as soon as retrieval stopsinformation will be lost from WM within that time more by interference not time2Limited capacity systemonly hold so much informationMillerWM 7 units of informationSmall finite amount of information can be active at particular time3Equivalent to conscious awarenessmaintains information for brief periods in active conscious stateShortterm Older term used to describe memory system that holds information for memoryshort period of time up to 15 secondsTerm no longer used because1Associated with theory thats no longer considered to be correct2Now used in everyday speech in way different from its former use in psychologyPrimary memory Term used to mean shortterm memoryWilliam James refer to WMNo longer used because current conceptions of WM postulate that it is both active area where we rehearse new information and are that holds information after it been retrieved from LTMneither primary or secondary to LTMComparative Study of animal behavior psychologyHow animal memory system compare to human and each otherAnimal memory researchworking memorymemory of most recent trial different usage regardless of time course of that memorySensory memoryVery brief memory system that holds literal information or fraction of a second to allow cognitive processingOccurs prior to conscious accessThought to be composed of separate memory systems for each perceptual system ex iconic echoicLow level system separate from STMIconic memoryVisual sensory memorySperling existence of iconic memory Experiment subjects shown matrix of 12 letters in 4x3 grid forbrief period of timeasked to retrieve allrecall about 5 but when cued for particular lineremember 3 from that lineThus suggest 9 letters accessible visually at time of recall and poor recall when asked for all letters consequence of WM not sensory deficitsEchoic memoryAuditory sensory memoryDigit span taskTask where person must remember list of digits presented by experimenterChief method to look at capacity of WM standard testEasy and very valuable research toolResultconsistent with Miller magic number 7College studentsfind 7 digits easy8 but most 10 digitnotEducated and younger people tend to have longer digit spans than less
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