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Chapter 5

chapter 5

Course Code
Gabriela Ilie

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Chapter 5
Encoding: acquires info, occurs when info is first translated into a
form that other cognitive processes can use. Its held in storage in one
from or another for later retrieval.
Retrieval: the calling to mind of previously stored info
Forgetting: when we cannot retrieve info
Clive Wearing’s example
Amnesia, spared memory abilities
Memory is a wax tablet on which impressions are made.
Modal model of memory (1960s and 1970s)
Info is received, processed, and stored differently for each kind of memory,
according to the length of time info is stored.
Sensory memory: unattended info
Short-term memory (STM): attended info, 20 or 30 sec
Long-term memory (LTM)
Initial brief storage of sensory info
Separate sensory memories exist for each sensory modality:
Visual (icon)/auditory (echo)/olfactory/gustatory/ tactile sensory memory
The Icon

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The “after-image” of the lightning, or your name, is a mental
experience believed to persist in sensory memory.
Experiment (George Sperling): Recall displayed letters that
were presented for only 50 milliseconds.
Expanding the display time didnt improve performance.
Even as Ps sere recalling, the info was fading from wherever it
was being stored.
Info lasts only briefly in visual memory system (the icon).
Sperling: Partial-report technique
Visual store could hold abt 9 items, but held only briefly, and
reduced when the tone cue was delayed.
Call this brief visual memory the icon
Masking: the icon can be erased by other stimuli presented
immediately after the icon.
Ps could be cued to give partial reports in many ways: color,
brightness etc.
Info available in the icon is only visual—not auditory or related
to type of stimulus.
The Echo
Four-eared” listening task
Condition 1: Ps were asked to report all letters they had heard
Condition 2: Four lights cued the Ps to report only letters from
one particular channel.
Ps giving partial reports could report proportionately more
The echo stores info only briefly.
Echoic memory has a larger capacity than iconic memory

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Echoes last longer than icons (20 sec)
e.g. Someone asks you a question while you are watching TV,
can still answer it even after the question has been spoken.
Suffix effect
Suffixrecall cue, functions as an auditory “mask” of sorts.
The more auditory similarity there is b/w the suffix and the
items, the greater the suffix effect.
Properties of sensory memory
1) Sensory memories are modality specific
The visual sensory memory contains visual info; auditory
sensory memory contains auditory info.
2) Visual capacities are larger than auditory sensory memory, but
the length of time info can be stored is longer in the auditory
than visual store.
3) Info that can be stored appears relatively unprocessed.
Most of info has to do w/ physical aspects of the stimuli
rather than w/ meaningful ones.
Guarantees a minimum of time during which info presented to us is available
for processing.
Free-recall experiment
Ppl recall a list of words, and then computes the probability of recall of each
word in serial position.
Serial position effect
Recall more words at either the beginning (primacy effect) or the end
(recency effect) of the list than words in middle
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