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Chapter 5

PSYB57H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Phantom Limb, Episodic Memory, Procedural Memory


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB57H3
Professor
George Cree
Chapter
5

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Chapter 5: Memory Traces and Memory Schemas
Mystic writing pad model: a model of memory based on a toy writing tablet that retains fragments of old
messages even after they have been erased. )n time, these fragments accumulate and begin to overlap, so
that they become increasingly hard to read.
Reappearance hypothesis: the hypothesis that the same memory can reappear unchanged, again and
again.
The Trace Memory
Flashbulb memories: vivid, detailed memories of significant events.
Now print! Theory: the theory that especially significant experiences are immediately photocopied and
preserved in long-term memory.
Brown and Kulik’s model of Flashbulb memories
1. The stimulus event is tested for surprisingness. )f it is completely ordinary, then no attention is
paid to it. If it is sufficiently traumatic, we will respond with retrograde amnesia and not process
it at all. However, if the event is extraordinary then very close attention is paid to it.
2. The event is tested for consequentiality. Event that fails this test will be forgotten.
3. In this stage, flashbulb memories are formed. Flashbulb memories will vary in vividness and
completeness depending on how surprising and consequential they are.
4. This stage is rehearsal, in which we think about those memories and develop verbal accounts of
them.
5. In this stage, we tell and retell those accounts to other people.
The Now Print! Theory focuses on the third stage, in which the surprising and consequential experience is
preserved in long-term memory.
McClosekey et al. concluded that so-called flashbulb memories are not necessarily more accurate than
normal memories, and that there is no need for a special flashbulb mechanism to account for them.
They concluded that if these types of memories seem easier to recall in vivid detail than ordinary
memories, it’s only because we have replayed them so often and thought about them so much.
Are Memory Traces Permanent?
According to the Consolidation theory, memory traces of an event are not fully formed immediately after
that event, but take some time to consolidate.
This process of consolidation can be disturbed by events that occur after the event to be
remembered; such disruption is called retroactive interference.
Hippocampus is a crucial site for the consolidation of memory traces, converting immediate memories
into long-term memories.
If the hippocampal formation is damaged before the consolidation process is complete, recent
formed memories that are still undergoing the consolidation process will be impaired.
Reconsolidation: hypothetical process whereby memory trace is revised and reconsolidated.
Barlett and the Concept of the Schema
Method of repeated reproduction: one participant is given multiple opportunities to recall a story over
time.
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Method of serial reproduction: one participant, A, writes down what he or she can recall of a previously
read story. A’s version is given to a second participant, B, who reads it and tries to reproduce it. B’s
version in turn is given to C, and so on.
Barlett believed that this experiment showed what happens to memory over time.
Rationalization: the attempt to make memory as coherent and sensible as possible.
Schema (Barlett): an organized setting that guides our behavior, a standard that can be adjusted to fit
changing circumstances.
Body schema/body image: the individual’s schematic representation of his or her body.
Phantom limb: the feeling, following the sudden loss of a body part, that it is still present.
Phantom limbs occur as a consequence of the way the body schema represents the parts of our
bodies and their relationships. If the loss of a body part occurs slowly, then there is much less
likelihood of experiencing a phantom.
Penfield homunculus: a map of the sensory cortex that shows where the various parts of the body are
represented; the size of each part is proportional to the area of the cortex that represents it.
Since hands are represented next to the face (in the penfield homunculus) therefore when a
person, who had his arm amputated just above the elbow and developed a phantom limb, was
stimulated with a cotton swab on the surface of his face, he felt as if parts of his missing hand were
being stimulated.
Brain-imaging techniques supported this saying input from the face and upper arm could now
activate the hand area. The body schema is not fixed, but shows considerable plasticity
(flexibility).
Research Based on Schema Theory
Most schema theories discuss memory in terms of 4 processes:
1. Selection: the hypothesis that we select info both as we receive it and as we recall it.
2. Abstraction: hypothesis that we tend to remember only the gist, not the specifics, of what we
experience.
3. Interpretation: hypothesis that we interpret info by making inferences, and then remember the
inferences as part of the original info.
4. Integration: hypothesis that we abstract the meaning of an event and then put that meaning
together with the rest of our knowledge to form a coherent, consistent whole.
Misinformation effect: the hypothesis that misleading post-event info can become integrated with
memory for the original event.
False memories
We may not be very good at discriminating between memory of real events and memory of imagined
events. If we imagine an event in a particularly vivid way, we may later have the illusion that the event
actually took place.
Source monitoring framework: a theory of the reason people sometimes fail to distinguish between a
real and an imagined event.
Scripts
Script: a set of expectations concerning the actions and events that are appropriate in a particular
situation. (eg. what happens when you go to a restaurant?)
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Life script: a cultural narrative that guides autobiographical memories and prescribes the age norms for
important events in an individual’s life.
Life scripts are more abstract than scripts.
Life scripts are prescriptive, not descriptive. )nstead of simply describing an individual’s life, they
prescribe what the sequence of important events in that life should be.
Therefore, life scripts contain events that the culture judges to be important (eg.marriage).
They are not abstracted from personal experiences (such as a restaurant script) but are handed
down from older generations, from stories, and from observations of the behavior of other,
typically older, people within the same culture.
Levels of Processing
A continuum that ranges from registering an event purely in terms of its physical characteristics to
analyzing it in terms of its relationship to other things that you know.
According to Craik and Lockhart, cognition is a system designed for perception and understanding.
The more deeply we process an event, the more we will have comprehended it. The more
important an event is to us, the more we will comprehend it.
Thus, depth of processing is a continuum that ranges from registering an event purely in terms of
its physical characteristics to analyzing it in terms of its meaning and relationship to other things
that you know.
Elaboration: adding to or enriching info by relation it to other info.
Distinctiveness: the precision with which an item is encoded.
There’s evidence regarding that the more distinctively an item is elaborated, the better it will be
remembered.
Specific and general levels of representation: as people age they tend to forget specific details but tend
to remember deeper, more general meanings.
Two Approaches to Memory Research
Lab-based approach to memory research: an approach that emphasized controlled laboratory (as
opposed to real-world) research in the search for general principles.
Ebbinghaus pioneered the use of nonsense syllables a consonant followed by a vowel followed by a
consonant.
In one experiment, he read and re-read 13 nonsense syllables each until he could recite it
perfectly. After various intervals, he then determined how long it took him to relearn a list. The
longer the time since the original learning, the longer it took to relearn a list.
In general, memory loss was greatest immediately after learning,
Forgetting curve: Ebbinghaus’s finding that the rate at which info is forgotten is greatest immediately
after the info has been acquired, and declines more gradually over time.
Jost’s law of forgetting: of two memory traces of equal strength, the younger trace will decay faster than
the older one. (Basically, the rate at which forgetting occurs will become slower over time).
Ribot’s law of retrograde amnesia: older memories are less likely to be lost as a result of brain damage
than are newer memories.
Law of progressions and pathologies: A last in, first out principle referring to the possibility that the
last system to emerge is the first to show the effects of degeneration.
The Ecological Approach
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