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Chapter 5

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PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof

Cognitive Psychology: Chapter 5 Introduction - One way to frame learning and memory:  Acquisition  Storage  Retrieval - Analogy to creating, storing, and opening a computer file - This view is problematic for at least two reasons: • New learning is grounded in previously learned (stored) knowledge  If you’re learning something for a specific purpose, you can only get the information from one certain way, can’t necessarily go into it with another angle • Effective learning depends on how the information will be later retrieved The Modal Model - Information processing • A perspective in cognitive psychology in which complex mental events involve a number of discrete components • These components receive input from, and sent input to, one another - The modal model (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968; Waugh & Norman, 1965) makes a distinction between two kinds of memory:  Short-term memory (STM) – holds the information currently in use (readily accessible)  Long-term memory (LTM) – all of the information one can remember (what’s already in your mind) - Working memory (WM) – a more recent term for short-term memory, emphasizing its function - Experiments supporting the modal model:  Participants hear a long series of words (e.g., 30)  The position of an item in the presentation list is its serial position  Task is to repeat back as many words as they can in any order; free-recall procedure - Primacy effect • With free recall, participants are likely to remember the first few items in the list • Based in long-term memory • During list presentation, the first few items receive the most memory rehearsal and are transferred from WM to LTM - Recency effect • With free recall, participants are likely to remember the last few items in the list • Based in working memory • At the end of list presentation, the last few items are currently in working memory and are often the first items to be reported - 30 seconds of filled delay displaces the last few items from working memory  If you interfere with working memory, you won’t get the recency effect anymore - This eliminates the recency effect - 30 seconds of unfilled delay does not change the recency effect - Slowing down the presentation of the list allows for more rehearsal of all items - This improves all parts of the curve that reflect LTM, i.e., all items except for the last few - Neuroimaging data • Memory for the items at the beginning of the list (but not the end) is associated with activity in the hippocampus Working Memory - Virtually all mental activities require working memory (WM)  Reading  Goal-driven behaviour - Some tasks demand more WM resources than others - Individual differences in WM capacity predict some cognitive abilities  When you read a sentence, there’s a part of your brain that holds on to the beginning of that sentence so you can put the entire sentence together - Digit-span task • Used to determine an individual’s working memory capacity • Participant hears a series of digits and repeats them back • The longest list length that can be reliably repeated back by the participant is his or her digit span • Working memory capacity is typically 7 plus-or-minus 2 (Miller, 1956) - Chunking refers to a repackaging of the information held in working memory  A series of letters HOPTRASLU can be chunked as the syllables HOP, TRA, SLU  Working memory can hold 7 +/- 2 chunks of information  Effort and attentional resources are required to repackage the input  Does not increase the size of working memory itself - One metaphor for working memory is a loading dock  Mechanically transfers input to and from long-term memory - A better metaphor is a librarian  Actively categorizes, catalogs, and cross-references new material - Reading span • A measure that captures the active nature of working memory • Participant reads a series of sentences and must remember the last word in each sentence • The number of sentence-final words that can be remembered is the operation span - Operation span • Another measure that captures the active nature of working memory • Participant determines whether an equation is true or false, and must remember a word paired with each equation • The number of words that can be remembered determines the operation span - Reading span and Operation Span correlate more strongly with test performance, reasoning, and reading ability than does the digit span - Working memory is often divided into three components:  Central executive – makes decisions, plans responses, and coordinates helper components  Visuospatial buffer – helper component that deals with visual material and imagery  Articulatory rehearsal loop – help
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