Chapter 7 Memory, Attention, and Learning
Self-Conceptions of Age-related Memory Loss
-Self-ratings of memory performance are measures of metamemory, or the self-appraisal
or self-monitoring of memory
-Studies of metamemory gauge how well each of us understands, the efficacy of our own
- a large number of people inaccurately assessed their memory skills
-People who reported depression and impairment on daily acvitites of daily living
were more likely to report impaired memory, even though they performed normally on the
-older adults have a much more negative view of their memory ability than younger adults
-Why do discrepancies exist between metamemory and actual memory performance?
1. May be the case that people confuse their self-perceptions of everyday memory
failures with age-related changes in physical and/or mental health status.
2. Older adults (and their relatives and health care providers) tend to overestimate
the number of memory difficulties they experience in everyday life. Older adults seem to be
sensitive to their memory failures than younger adults.
3. A third reason for the discrepancy between metamemory and memory
performance is that self-report measures may, in actuality, assess the complexity of an
individual’s psychosocial environment rather than his her memory.
4. People’s ideas about the structure, function, and organization of human memory
may be inaccurate.
Varieties of Memory Aging
-Temporal characteristics: Short-term memory, long term memory, autobiographical
-The processes associated with retrieval of information from long-term memory are
age-sensitive, whereas short term memory tasks place relatively little if any demand on
age-sensitive processing resources.
-Encoding and retrieval: recollection, familiarity
-There are age related inefficiencies in the encoding, storage, and retrieval of
-Stimulus Domain: Visual-spatial, verbal
-Age-related differences are larger on visual-spatial processing tasks that on verbal
-Episodic memory, speed of processing, short-term memory, and working memory all decline
-Verbal knowledge shows a flat profile. Also, processes of familiarity, implicit memory, and
priming show little or no age-related decline.
Recollection and Familiarity
-Many processes of memory are subserved by two distinct processes, recollection and
-Recollection: involves the retrieval of contextual information about a past event (ex. Time
-Familiarity: involves a feeling of recognition or “oldness” about the event in the absence of
retrieval of contextual information
-Proper Dissociation Procedure (PDP): Estimates the degree to which conscious and
unconscious (or automatic) factors independently contribute to performances on memory
tests. Used to distinguish contribution between recollection and familiarity.
-Another procedure for distinguishing processes of recollection and familiarity is the
remember-known paradigm. For each item that is recognized, the participant is asked
whether she remembers contextual information about the original study situation or
whether she just has a sense of familiarity for the item absent of contextual information.
Short-term Verys Long-Term Memory
How it moves
Type of memory
How its lost
-Sensory stores or buffers in addition to short- and long-term stores. Transfer from sensory
to short-term memory entails attention, whereas transfer from short-term to long-term
memory requires rehearsal and elaboration. Forgetting from sensory stores is thought to
result from simple decay; this information is lost within less than a second. Forgetting from
short-term memory results from displacement; new information replaces old information.
Forgetting from long-term memory results from interference between the memory for one
piece of information and that for another bit of info learned previously.
-Short-term memory capacity is hardly affected by age