Chapter 6 – Interconnections between Acquisition and Retrieval
When you are learning you’re making connections b/w the newly acquired material and other representations already in your
Retrieval paths have a starting point and an ending point.
STATE-DEPENDENT LEARNING: A phenomenon in which learning seems linked to the person’s mental, emotional, or
biological state during the learning. As a result of this linkage, the learning is most likely to show its effects when the person is
again in that mental, emotional, or biological state.
o In an experiment preformed on divers those who learned underwater and were tested in the same environment
performed better than those who learned underwater and were tested on land. This is presumably b/c being in the same
environment during learning and testing allows for you to recall the connections you make during learning while being
tested (such as connections to feeling cold underwater).
Memory is best if the olfactory environment (smell) is the same during memory retrieval as it was during the initial learning.
It is not physical context but psychological context that really matters when recalling information.
Recall performance is best if someone’s state (internal or external) at the time of testing matches his state at the time of learning.
CONTEXT REINSTATEMENT: A procedure in which someone is led to the same mental and emotional state he or she was
in during some previous event.
o It can often promote accurate recollection.
o Improved memory performance if we re-create the context that was in place during learning.
The context has its effect only b/c it influences how the person thinks about the materials to be remembered; it’s these thoughts,
and the perspective the person has during learning, that really matter for memory, and not the physical environment.
If participants thought about meaning at the time of learning, they did considerably better in the test if the cues provided by the
experimenter concerned meaning.
The match effect wins over the level of processing in this experiment. When a participant thinks about sound (shallow
processing) when learning and the cue is sound they do better than when the cue is meaning (deep processing).
ENCODING SPECIFICITY: The tendency, when memorizing, to place in memory both the materials to be learned and also
some amount of the context of those materials. As a result, these materials will be recognized as familiar, later on, only if the
materials appear again in a similar context.
“Piano as a musical instrument” is not what participants learned if they saw the sentence “piano is something heavy.” So when
asked later if the word they were told to remember makes a nice sound it is correct for them to say “no” since the word they were
told to remember is actually heavy.
In learning new material, you establish a memory that can be retrieved in a certain way, from a certain perspective. If the
perspective changes-if, in particular, your understanding of the target information changes-then the original memory may not be
RECALL: The task of memory retrieval in which the rememberer must come up w/ the desired materials, sometimes in response
to a cue that names the context in which these materials were earlier encountered (“Name the picture you saw earlier”),
sometimes in response to a question that requires the sought after information (“Name a fruit” or “What is the state capital of
o We’re presented w/ some cue that broadly identifies the information that we seek, but then we need to come up w/ the
information on our own.
o Requires memory search.
o Depends heavily on memory connections, b/c it is the connections (serving as retrieval paths) that support the search.
RECOGNITION: The task of memory retrieval in which the items to be remembered are presented and the person must decide
whether or not the item was encountered in some earlier circumstance. Thus, for example, one might be asked, “Have you ever
seen this person before?”
o Information is presented to us, and we must decide whether it’s the sought after information or not.
SOURCE MEMORY: A form of memory that allows one to recollect the episode in which learning took place or the time and
place in which a particular stimulus was encountered.
FAMILIARITY: In some circumstances, the subjective feeling that one has encountered a stimulus before; in other
circumstances, the objective fact that one has indeed encountered a stimulus before and is now in some way influenced by that
encounter, whether or not one recalls that encounter or feels that the stimulus is familiar.
ATTRIBUTION: The step of explaining a feeling or event, usually by identifying the factors of the earlier event that is the
cause of the current feeling or event.
Recognition sometimes depends on familiarity and sometimes it depends on source memory. Having source memory w/out having familiarity is demonstrated in individuals w/ Capgras syndrome. The patient has detailed,
complete, accurate memories of the past but no sense at all of familiarity, and faces seem hauntingly unfamiliar.
REMEMBER/KNOW: A distinction b/w two experiences one can have in recalling a past event. If one “remembers” having
encountered a stimulus before, then one usually can offer information about that encounter, including when, where, and how it
occurred. If one merely “knows” that one has encountered a stimulus before, then one is likely to have a sense of familiarity w/
the stimulus but may have no idea when or where the stimulus was last encountered.
o “Remember” and “know” judgements depend on different brain areas.
o Increased activity in the hippocampus is seen when people report remembering something.
o The anterior parahippocampus region is activated when people report knowing something, indicating this area is crucial
o Activity in the hippocampus is presumably helping to create the memory connections we have been discussing all along,
and it is these connections, we’ve argued, that promote source memory.
LEXICAL-DECISION TASK: A test in which participants are shown strings of letters and must indicate, as quickly as
possible, whether each string of letters is a word in English or not. It is supposed that people perform this task by “looking up”
these strings in their “mental dictionary.”
o Lexical decisions are appreciably quicker if the person has recently seen the test word.
REPETITION PRIMING: A pattern of priming that occurs simply b/c a stimulus is presented a second time; processing is
more efficient on the second presentation.
This priming is observed even when participants have no recollection for having encountered the stimulus words before.
Participants show the repetition priming effect even for words that (when asked directly) they cannot recall seeing on the earlier
Memory w/out awareness refers to the fact that participants can be influenced by a specific past experience that they seem
(consciously) not to remember.
WORD-STEM COMPLETION: A task in which people are given the