PSYC 2650 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Memory Rehearsal, Sensory Memory, Current Contents

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16 Nov 2017
Chapter 6: The Acquisition of Memories and the Working-Memory System
Acquisition: the process of gaining information and placing it into memory
· Once you've acquired this info, you need to hold it in memory until the information is needed.
Storage: the state in which a memory, once acquired, remains until it is retrieved. Many people
understand storage to be a “dormant” process, so that the memory remains unchanged while it is
in storage.
· Modern theories, however, describe a more dynamic form of storage, in which older memories
are integrated with newer knowledge
· Finally, you remember. You locate the new information in the vast warehouse that is memory
and you bring it into active use, which is called retrieval.
We cannot separate claims about memory acquisition from claims about memory storage. This is
because how you learn (acquisition) depends on what you already know (info in storage)
Modal Model: working memory serves both as the storage site for material now being
contemplated and as the “loading platform” for long-term memory.
· Waugh and Norman (1965)
· Information can reach working memory through the process of perception, or it can be drawn
from long-term memory.
· Once in working memory, material can be further processed or can simply be recycled for
subsequent use
· This model prompted a large quantity of valuable research, but is has now largely been set
aside, with modern theorizing offering a very different conception of working memory.
Updating the Model
· The early conception of memory captures some important truths, but it needs to updated in
several ways
· The idea of “sensory memory” plays a much smaller role in modern theorizing and so modern
discussions of perceptions often make no mention of this memory
· Modern proposals use the term “working memory” rather than “short term memory”
· Information has to pass through working memory on the way into longer-term storage.
· Working memory and long-term memory differ:
1. Working memory is limited in size; long-term memory is enormous
2. Getting information into working memory is easy
3. Getting info out of working memory is also easy
4. The contents of working memory are quite fragile
Long-Term Memory: the storage system in which we hold of our knowledge and all of our
memories. Long-term memory contains memories that are not currently activated; those that are
activated are represented in working memory.
· You usually are not thinking about a lot of knowledge and beliefs in LTM
Free Recall: a method for assessing memory. The person being testes is asked to come up with as
many items from a particular source, in any sequence.
· People usually remember 12-15 words in this test, in a consistent pattern
· Very likely to remember first few words on the list
o Primacy effect
o Memory rehearsal: any mental activity that has the effect of maintaining info in
working memory. There are two types
1. Maintenance rehearsal
2. Elaborative rehearsal
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