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Chapter 6


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Dwayne Pare

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PSYB57 – Chapter 6: Interconnections between Acquisition and Retrieval Learning as Preparation for Retrieval  When you are learning, you are making connections between newly acquired material and other representations already in your memory  The connections help because they make knowledge findable later on o They serve as retrieval paths  Retrieval paths have a start point and an end point Context-Dependent Learning  Pattern of data in which materials learned in one setting are remembered when the person returns to that setting but less remembered in another setting  In an experiment, half of the participants learned test material while on land and other half learned while underwater. Within each group, half were tested while underwater and half were tested on land. A retrieval advantage is expected that divers who learned material while underwater will remember the material best if they’re again underwater at the time of the test  Another study showed that those who read an article in quiet did best if tested in quiet and vice versa  What matters is not the physical context but the psychological context Changes in Your Approach to the Memory Materials  Context reinstatement = procedure in which someone is led to the same mental and emotional state he or she was in during a previous event; may promote accurate recollection of that event  Fisher and Craik presented participants with a series of word pairs. They were instructed to learn the second word of each pair and use the first word as an aid to remembering the target word. For half the pairs, the other word was semantically paired with the target word. For the other pairs the context word was one that rhymed with the target o People who thought about meaning at the time of learning remembered 50% more than people who thought about sound o If participants thought about meaning at the time of learning, they better in the test if cues provided by the experimenter concerned meaning. If they thought about sound at the time of learning, they did better with a cue concerning the word’s sound Encoding Specificity  What is preserved in memory is a record of target material and also some record of the connections you established during learning  A cue is effective only if it is congruent with what was stored in memory  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; later on those materials will be recognized at familiar if they appear in a similar context The Memory Network  Memory acquisition and learning involve the creation (or strengthening) of memory connections  Memory is thought of as a vast network of ideas represented as nodes within a network  The nodes are tied to each other via connections called associations or associative links Spreading Activation  Nodes receive activation from their neighbors and as more and more activation arrives at a particular node, the activation level for that node increases, eventually reaching the node’s response threshold. The node then fires  Activation levels below the threshold (sub-threshold activation) have important role to play: activation is assumed to accumulate and bring the node to threshold. If a node has been partially activated recently, it is already warmed up so a weak input will be sufficient to bring it to threshold  Activation travels node to node via associative links. Each node becomes activated and fires and serves as a source for further activation (spreading activation)  Activation spreads out from its starting point in all directions simultaneously, flowing through whatever connections are in place Retrieval Cues  A participant is asked “what is the capital or South Dakota?” this activates the south Dakota nodes, and activation spreads from there to all the associated nodes  It is possible that the connection between south Dakota and Pierre is weak so Pierre may not receive enough activation to reach threshold,  Things will go differently if the participant is given a hint, “the capital is a man’s name. o Now Pierre node will receive activation from 2 sources, the south Dakota nodes and the man’s name nodes  With this double input, it is more likely that the Pierre node will reach threshold  This is why hints make the memory search easier Context Reinstatement  The info you seek in memory is tied to the retrieval cue you are given but it’s possible that the info you seek receives insufficient activation from this source  The info you seek may also be tied in memory to thoughts that had been triggered by the learning context  If you are back in that context at the time of recall, the target nodes can receive a double input and this will help activate the target nodes Semantic Priming  The insufficient activation received from one source can add to the insufficient activation received from another source  Either source of activation on its own would not be enough but the 2 can combine to activate the target nodes  In a lexical-decision task, research participants are shown a series of letter sequences on a computer screen  Some sequences spell words, other sequences aren’t words  The participants’ task is to hit a yes button if the sequence spells a word and a no button otherwise  Trials with related words will produce semantic priming  Participants were given a lexical decision task involving pairs of words. o In some pairs the words were semantically related and in other pairs the words were unrelated. o Reponses to the second word were reliably faster if the word had been primed – providing clear evidence of the importance of sub-threshold activation  People have control over the starting points for their memory searches and evidence suggests that once the spreading of activation has begun, people have the option of shutting down the spread if they are convinced the wrong nodes are being activated  Spreading activation is a crucial mechanism Different Forms of Memory Testing  Paths through memory have both a starting point and an end point  Retrieval paths will be helpful only if you are at the appropriate starting point; this is the basis for context reinstatement  Paths are really connections that carry activation from one memory to another  Recall requires memory search because you have to come up with the sought-after item on your own and need to locate that item within memory. Recall depends heavily on the memory connections  Recognition is something of a hybrid. It bases judgments on recall of earlier episodes Familiarity and Source Memory  Familiarity is truly distinct from source memory  The two types of memory are independent of each other so that its possible for an event to be familiar without any source memory and vice versa  Source memory and familiarity are also distinguishable biologically  Participants have been asked during a recognition test to make a remember/know distinction o Remember and know judgments depend on different brain areas o There is heightened activity in the hippocampus when people indicate they remember a particular test item, suggesting that the hippocampus is crucial for source memory o The know responses are associated with activity in anterior parahippocampus, implying that this site is crucial for familiarity  Familiarity and source memory can also be distinguished during learning  If certain brain areas are especially active during learning then the stimulus is likely to seem familiar later on and that this site plays a key role in establishing the familiarity Implicit Memory Memory without Awareness  Lexical decisions are quicker if the person has recently seen the test word. The lexical decision shows repetition priming which is observed when participants have no recollection for having encountered the stimulus words before  In an experiment, participants encountered words in one of three settings o No context setting: participants saw a word and had to read it aloud. This did nothing to encourage any thought about the word’s meaning and led to poor explicit memory. It forced them to look at the words, leading to good implicit memory o Generate setting: participants were given an antonym for the target word and had to produce the word on their own. This condition encouraged thought about meaning and led to good explicit memory but involved no practice looking at the word so led to poor implicit memory o Context setting: produced intermediate results.  There is clearly a factor that promotes explicit memory but not implicit (attention to meaning) and a different factor that promotes implicit but not explicit memory (perceptual contact)  Word-stem completion is a task in which people are given 3-4 letters and must produce a word with this beginning o People are more likely to offer a specific word if they have encoun
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