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Chapter 8

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University of Guelph
PSYC 1000
Anne Bergen

Chapter 8 - Memory Memory- refers to the processes that allow us to record and later retrieve experiences and information. Encoding – refers to getting information into the system by translating it into a neural code that your brain processes. (* similar to the computer translates what you typed with the keyboard into an electrical code that computer can process and understand.) Storage – involves retaining saved information over time. (* similar to a computer storing information on its hard drives.) Retrieval- is the process of accessing information in long-term memory. (* similar to viewing a file stored on the hard drive.) AThree-Component Model Encoding Working Encoding Long-term Sensory Sensory (Short-term) Memory Input Registers Attention Memory Retrieval Rehearsal In this model, memory has three major components: 1. Sensory registers, which detect and briefly hold incoming sensory information; 2. Working memory, which processes certain information retrieved from the sensory registers and information retrieved from long-term memory; 3. Long-term memory, which stores information for longer periods of time. Sensory memory- holds incoming sensory information just long enough for it to be recognized. It is composed of different subsystems, called sensory registers, which are the initial information processors. (Ex: visual sensory register - iconic store; auditory sensory register – echoic store.) Short-term Memory Because our attentional capabilities are limited, most information in sensory memory simply fades away. But through selective attention, a small portion enters short-term memory (aka: working memory), which holds the information that we are conscious of at any given time. Mental representations - Once information leaves sensory memory, it must be represented by some type of code if it is to be retained in short-term and eventually long-term memory. For example, the words that someone just spoke to you, the phone number that you just looked up must somehow become represented in your mind. Such mental representations, or memory codes, can take various forms. - mental image (visual encoding) - code something by sound (phonological encoding) *which plays an important role in ST memory* - focus on the meaning of a stimulus (semantic encoding) - code patterns of movement (motor encoding) Capacity and duration – ST memory is limited in duration and capacity. Depending on the stimulus, most people can hold no more than 5-9 meaningful items in STM. 1 Chunking – combining individual items into larger unites of meaning. Maintenance rehearsal – a simple repetition of information. Ex: repeating a telephone number to yourself loudly. Elaborative rehearsal – involves focusing on the meaning of information or relating it to other things we already know. Thus you could rehearse the term “iconic memory” by thinking about examples of it in your own life. Both types of rehearsal keep information in STM, but elaborative rehearsal is more effective in transferring information into LTM, which is our more permanent memory store. One model, proposed byAlan Baddeley, divides working memory into three components: 1) We maintain some information in an auditory working memory (when you repeat a phone number, name, or vocab.). 2) Visual-spatial working memory allows us to temporarily store and manipulate images and spatial information (as when forming mental “maps” of the route to some destination). 3) Acontrol process, called the central executive, directs the action. It decides how much attention to allocate to mental imagery and auditory rehearsal, calls up information from LTM, and integrates the input. Long-term Memory LTM is our vast library of more durable stored memories. Its capacity essentially is unlimited. Once formed, a LTM can endure for up to a lifetime. Studies found that the words at the end and beginning of a list of 10 – 30 items of words are the easiest to recall. This U- shaped pattern is called the serial position effect, meaning that recall is influenced by a word’s position in a series of items. The serial position effect has two components: - a primacy effect, reflecting the superior recall of early words. As the first few words enter STM, they are quickly rehearsed and transferred into LTM. However, as the STM rapidly fills up and there are too many words to keep track, we cannot rehearse the items and get them to the LTM. - a recency effect, representing the superior recall of the most recent words. The last few words have the benefit of not being “bumped out” of STM by new information. Encoding: entering information -effortful processing, encoding that is initiated intentionally and requires conscious attention. Ex: rehearsing, making lists, and taking class notes… -automatic processing, encoding that occurs without intention and requires minimal attention. Ex: information about the frequency, spatial location, sequence, and timing of events… -according to the levels of processing concept developed by Fergus Craik and Robert Lockhart of the U of T, the more deeply we process information, the better it will be remembered. (Semantic encoding > phonological encoding > structural encoding) - Shallow exposures to a stimulus do not guarantee long-term retention. Rehearsal goes beyond mere exposure because we are thinking about the information. - Maintenance rehearsal involves simple repetition (repeating phone number), most useful for keeping information active in short-term memory. However, it is an inefficient method for bringing about long- term transfer. 2 - Elaborative rehearsal focuses on the meaning of information. Organizing information, thinking about how it applies to our own lives, and relating it to concepts or examples we already know, more effective in transferring information into long-term memory. - organizing material in a hierarchy takes advantage of the principle that memory is enhanced by associations between concepts. - Chunking refers to combing individual items into a larger unit of meaning, and it widens the information-processing bottleneck caused by the limited capacity of short-term memory. Ex: when you call someone who lives far away, you probably encode the numbers as a set of three chunks (e.g. 905-567-5456) rather than as ten individual numbers. -According
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