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Chapter 8

Chapter 8- Memory.doc

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Steve Joordens

Chapter 8- Memory Overview of Memory • A lapse of time may occur between the act of learning and a change of behaviour caused by that learning Memory- the cognitive processes of encoding, storing, and retrieving info • Aware of these processes in different ways Encoding- the process by which sensory info is converted into a form that can be used by the brain’s memory system Storage- the process of maintaining info in memory • Not so directly available Retrieval- the active processes of locating and using stored info • A progressive reactivation • In 1949, Donald Hebb used this active/latent distinction to suggest that the brain remembered info in 2 different ways, called dual trace theory o Info that was active was in this state because neurons were firing nonstop o He thought that this activity was due to the feedback circuits of neurons o Repeated firing strengthened the synaptic efficiency of the circuit, leading to structural changes in the neurons involved and would persist after the activity has ceased o The brain retained traces of an experience either in an active state or in the lateral structural state • In the 1960s, Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin suggested that memory takes at least 3 forms: o Sensory memory- memory in which representations of the physical features of a stimulus are stored for very brief durations  Retain active traces  Difficult to distinguish from the act of perception  Info represents the original stimulus fairly accurately and contains all or most of the info hat has just been perceived o Short-term memory- an immediate memory for stimuli that has just been perceived  Retain active traces  Limited in capacity and duration o Long-term memory- memory in which info is represented on a permanent or near-permanent basis  Retains latent traces 1  No limits and relatively durable  Occurs because of physical changes that take place in the brain Modal model- info flows from one type of memory to another Sensory Memory • We become aware of it only when info is presented very briefly, so that we can perceive its after-effects Iconic Memory Iconic memory/visual persistence- a form of sensory memory that holds a brief visual image of a scene that has just been perceived • Image of the visual stimulus fades quickly from iconic memory Echoic Memory Echoic memory- a form of sensory memory for sounds that have just been perceived • When we hear a word pronounced, we hear individual sounds and won’t identify the word until we have heard all of the sounds so acoustical info must be stored temporarily until all sounds have been received • Holds a representations of the initial sounds until the entire word has been heard • Can last up to 20 seconds Short-Term or Working Memory • Last limited capacity, and most of the info that enters it is subsequently forgotten Encoding of Information in the Short Term: Interaction with Long-Term Memory • The rehearsal process keeps the info in short-term memory long enough for it to be transferred into long-term memory • Retrieve some info from long-term memory in order to perform a task • Short-term memory contains info when we are trying to encode that info and when we are trying retrieve it Working memory- memory for new info and info retrieved from long-term memory • Represents our ability to remember what we have just perceived and to think about it in terms of what we already know Primacy and Recency Effects 2 Primacy effect- the tendency to remember initial info • Appear to be due to the fact that you have the opportunity to rehearse more than the later info • Permits them to be stored in long-term memory Recency effect- the tendency to recall later info • Still available in short-term memory The Limits of Working Memory • Stimuli remain working memory for less than 20 seconds unless they are rehearsed • Muter found that an unexpected distraction seriously disrupted working memory • Miller demonstrated that people could retain, on average, about 7 pieces of info in their short-term memories Chucking- a process by which info is simplified by rules, which make it easily remembered once the rules are learned • The total amount of info we can store in short-term memory depends on the particular rules we use to organize it • The capacity of short-term memory depends on how much meaning the info has Varieties of Working Memory • Working memory can contain a variety of sensory info: visual, auditory, somatosensory, gustatory, and olfactory • Contain info about movements that we have just made (motor movements) and provide rehearsed movements that we are thinking about making • Baddeley has suggested that working memory consists on several components: o Maintains verbal info o Retains memories of visual stimuli o Store general info (memory of non-speech sounds, touch, odours, etc) Phonological Working Memory • Most of the info we receive can be encoded verbally Phonological short-term memory- short-term memory for verbal information • May be produced by activity in the auditory system (circuits of neurons in the auditory association system) • Phonological coding could involve either the auditory system of the brain or the system that controls speech 3 • Phonological coding stored in long-term memory may help to strengthen the rehearsed info Subvocal articulation- an unvoiced speech utterance Conduction aphasia- an inability to remember words that are heard, although they usually can be understood and responded to appropriately • Caused by damage to a region of the left parietal lobe • Caused by damage to Wernicke’s areas (perception of speech) and Broca’s areas (production of speech) • Can disrupts acoustical short-term memory by making such subvocal rehearsal difficult or impossible Visual Working Memory • Much of the info we receive from the visual system is non-verbal • Obtained from the immediate environment by means of the sense organs or retrieved from long-term memory • Most of what we see is familiar • Short-term memories depend on organizational rules stored in long- term memory • Mental manipulation for tasks that require movements Loss of Information from Short-Term Memory • Info enters from sensory memory and from long-term memory, is rehearsed, thought out, modified, and then leaves • With increased skills and effort, more info would be stored, unless a distraction occurs, which can cause info to be degraded or to decay with time Learning and Encoding in Long-Term Memory • Once info has successfully made its way into long-term memory, it remains relatively stable • We remember things we recognize, perceptions received by all of our sensory systems, order of events that occurred, and experience o Perceptual memories involves altercations in circuits of neurons in the sensory association cortex of the brain (Ex: visual memories in the visual cortex) o Combinations of perceptual memories involve establishment of connections between different regions of the association cortex o Motor memories involves altercations in circuits of neurons in the motor association cortex of the frontal lobes • Involves both active and passive processes: use deliberate strategies to remember something or remember with effort 4 The Consolidation Hypothesis • Hebb’s dual trade theory was based on the distinction between active processing of info and latent retention due to structural changes in the brain Consolidation- the process by which info in short-term memory changes to long-term memory, presumably because of physical changes that occur in neurons in the brain • Make the info stronger, easier to recall, and more resistant to forgetting • This is long-term memory • A blow to the head disrupts the balance in ions surrounding brain cells, where the neurons’ ion pumps increase as a result, causing large metabolic changes Retrograde amnesia (“backward in time”) - the loss of the ability to retrieve memories of one’s past, particularly memories of episodic or autobiographical events • This occurs because the brain centres for consolidation have been damaged • Recent memories are affected more strongly than older ones because recent memories have had less time to be consolidated and are weaker, more difficult to retrieve, and more prone to forgetting Immediate-early genes (IEGs) – genes that can be activated in the presence of chemicals that inhibit the synthesis of proteins • Do not rely on the previous activation of other genes The Levels of Processing Hypothesis • The model states that all info gets into long-term memory only after passing through short-term memory • The model states that the most important factor determining whether a particular piece of info reaches long-term memory is the amount of time it spends in short-term memory • Craik and Lockhart pointed out that the act of rehearsal may effectively keep info in short-term memory but does not necessarily result in the establishment of long-term memories • They suggested that people engage in 2 different types of rehearsal: o Maintenance rehearsal- the rote repetition of info  Repeating a given item over and over again  Serves to maintain the info in short-term memory but does not necessarily result in lasting changes 5 o Elaborative rehearsal- the processing of info on a meaningful level, such as forming associations, attending to the meaning of the material, thinking about it, and so on  Elaborate on new info by recollecting related info already in long-term memory • Craik and Lockhart suggested that memory is a by-product of perceptual analysis and proposed a levels-of-processing framework for understanding the way info enters long-term memory o Conceived of the levels as being hierarchically arranged, from shallow (superficial) to deep (complex) o Can control the level of analysis by paying attention to different features of the stimulus  Focus on the superficial sensory characteristics  features will be stored in memory  Focus on the meaning of a stimulus and the ways it relates to other things  features will be stored in memory Shallow processing- the analysis of the superficial characteristics of a stimulus (Ex: size and shape) • This is an example of maintenance rehearsal Deep processing- the analysis of the complex characteristics of a stimulus (Ex: its meaning, its relationship to other stimulus) • This is an example of elaborative rehearsal • Leads to better retention than surface processing Knowledge, Encoding, and Learning • As we gain more knowledge over time, out recall of that knowledge improves • Encoding involves getting material into memory • How we encode info is likely to affect our ability to remember it later Automatic versus Effortful Processing Effortful processing- practicing or rehearsing info through either shallow or deep processing Automatic processing- the formation of memories of events and experience with little or no attention or effort • Includes frequency, time, and place • Help learn things with relative ease, which makes life a lot less taxing than continually having to process info effortfully Encoding Specificity • It seems clear that more rehearsal is better than less 6 Encoding specificity- the principle that how we encode info determines our ability to retrieve it later • The time to make info meaningful is during encoding Criticisms of the Levels of Processing Hypothesis • The difference of the shape of a stimulus and its meaning is clear, but most instances of encoding cannot be so neatly categorized • Depth roughly describes the fact that info is more readily remembered when we think about it in relation to what we already know, but it is
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