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PSYC1000 - Module 26

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PSYC 1000
Harvey Marmurek

Course: PSYC*1000 (DE) Professor: Harvey Marmurek Schedule: Summer, 2012 Textbook: Psychology – Tenth Edition in Modules authored by David G. Myers Textbook ISBN: 9781464102615 Module 26: Forgetting, Memory Construction, and Improving Memory Forgetting Why do we forget? Forgetting and the Two-Track Mind For some, memory loss is severe and permanent. Henry Molaison (H.M.) had brain surgery to stop severe seizures but was then unable to form new conscious memories. Suzanne Corkin neuroscientist. He suffered from anterograde amnesia, able to recall his past but not form new memories. Oliver Sacks – Jimmie had no memories beyond his injury in 1945. Although incapable of recalling new or recent facts or events, they can learn nonverbal tasks. Can find their way to the bathroom without being told again, read mirror-image writing, find Waldo, complicated job skills – all classically conditioned; but with no awareness of having learned them. Lost ability to form new explicit memories. Encoding Failure Age can affect encoding efficiency. The brain areas that jump into action when young adults encode new information are less responsive in older adults. Eternal Events  Sensory Memory  (attention)  Working/short-term memory –> (encoding)  long- term memory storage *Encoding failure leads to forgetting Storage Decay Hermann Ebbignhaus learned nonsense syllables and measured how much he retained from 20 minutes to 30 days later. The course of forgetting is initially rapid, then levels off with time. Harry Bahrick – Spanish vocabulary in school, 3 years out of school and forgotten much of what they had learned, but that which they remembered at that time was still recalled 25 years later. Some memories are never encoded. Others are discarded. Retrieval Failure Sometimes important events defy our attempts to access them – a name at the tip of the tongue. Retrieval problems occasionally stem from interference and, perhaps, from motivated forgetting. Interference Attic never fills, but it does get cluttered; ability to tune out clutter; focus. Those who were better at forgetting the irrelevant pairs also focused more on the to-be-remembered pairs and recalled them better on later tests. Sometimes, however, clutter wins, and new learning and old collide. Proactive (forward-acting) interference occurs when prior learning disrupts your recall of new information (buy new lock, forget old combination). Retroactive (backward-acting) interference occurs when new learning disrupts recall of old information (sing lyrics to the tune of an old song). Info presented one hour before sleep is protected from retroactive interference because the opportunity for interfering events is minimized. John Jenkins and Karl Dallenbach – nonsense syllables day after day, recalling up to 8 hours after being awake or asleep at night; forgetting occurred more rapidly after being awake and involved in other activities. Learning while sleeping – little memory for info. Old and new learning do not always compete with eah other – positive transfer. Motivated Forgetting Memory fails us because memory is an unreliable self-serving historian. Sigmund Freud – memory systems self- censored this information; we repress painful or unacceptable memories to protect our self-concept and to minimize anxiety. Can be retrieved by some later cue or during therapy. Educated people believe in repressed memories more than those with less formal education. Sensory Memory – The senses momentarily register amazing detail Working / Short-Term Memory – A few items are both noticed and encoded Long-Term Storage – Some items are altered or lost Retrieval from Long-Term Memory – Depending on interference, retrieval cues, moods, and motives, some things get retrieved, some don’t. What are three ways we forget, and how does each of these happen? (1) Encoding failure: information never entered our memory system because we were not paying attention to it, or the information was entered inaccurately. (2) Storage Decay: information fades from our memory. (3) Retrieval failure: we cannot access stored information accurately, sometimes due to interference or motivated forgetting. Memory Construction Errors How do misinformation, imagination, and source amnesia influence our memory construction? How do we decide whether a memory is real or false? Memory is not precise. Information acquired after an event alters memory of he event. We often construct our memories as we encode them, and every time we replay a memory, we replace the original with a slightly modified version. Your memory is only as good as your last memory. To some degree, all memory is false. Misinformation and Imagination Effects Elizabeth Loftus, eyewitnesses, traffic accident – language, leading questions. Misinformation Effect – exposed to misleading information, we tend to misremember. Once eating a spoiled sandwich and either never eating that kind of sandwich again or eating from the place where the sandwich originated from – imagination. Digitally altered photos have also produced this imagination inflation. The more vividly we can imagine things, the more likely they are to become memories. Source Amnesia Among the frailest parts of a memory is its source. Did the dream really happen?
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