PSY – Chap 8 Notes
Overview and Sensory Memory
• Memory: the cognitive process of Encoding, Storing, and Retrieving
o Encoding: sensory info is converted into a form that can be used by the brain’s
o Storage: maintaining info in memory
o Retrieval: locating and using stored info
• Retrieving information is a progressive reaction- you need to think about earlier parts of a
song before you can retrieve its ending
• In 1949, Donald Hebb suggested that the brain remembers info in 2 different ways- called
Dual Trace Theory: Active and Latent remembering
o Info that is active is because neurons are continuously firing
o Info is stored as latent because the neurons went thru repeated firing, causing
structural changes that are long lasting.
• Memory takes 3 forms:
o Sensory memory, short-term memory, long-term memory
• Sensory memory: memory in which physical representations of the physical features of a
stimulus are stored for brief durations
• Short-term memory: an immediate memory for stimuli that have just been perceived.
Limited in terms of capacity (7+- chunks of info) and time (< 20 seconds)
• Long-term memory: information is represented on a permanent of long-term basis
• Sensory memory:
o Iconic: (visible persistence) holds a brief image of a scene that has just been
o Echoic: used for sounds that have just been perceived, particularly those that
comprehend speech. In speech, it holds a representation of the initial sound until
the entire word has been heard.
• Short-term/Working memory:
o Info can enter short-term memory from either sensory memory or long term
o Represents a sort of “behaviour” that takes place within our heads. Is our ability
to remember what we have just perceived and think about it in terms that we
• Primacy effect: the tendency to remember initial information- like the words that appear
earlier in a list
• Recency effect: the tendency to recall later information- like the last words of the list
• Miller wrote the paper “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two”
• Chunking: a process by which information is simplified by Rules, making the info easier
to remember. Ex. “GSTCBCRCMP” or GST, CBC, RCMP o The total amount of information we store in short-term memory depends on the
particular rules we use to organize it. If the information can be organized in a
more meaningful sequence, there is less to remember.
• Baddeley suggested that working memory consists of several components, all
coordinated by a “central executive” function. One component maintains verbal info,
another: visual stimuli, another might store more general information (memory for non-
• Phonological short-term memory: short term storage of words, whether originally
presented visually or acoustically
• Subvocal articulation: unvoiced speech utterance (talking to yourself without sound).
Even though no actual movement occurs, it is still possible that activity occurs in the
neural circuits in the brain that normally control speech.
• Conduction aphasia: inability to remember words that are heard, although they can be
understood and responded to. Caused by damage to Wernickle’s and Broca’s areas
• Working memory is like a juggler trying to maintain several balls in the air. As long as
the juggler works actively at catching and throwing the balls, they don’t fall and hit the
ground (decay). With increased skill/more effort, the juggler can keep more balls in the
air, but a distraction will reduced the number of balls that can be juggled. Anything that
makes the balls easier to handle (chunking) will decrease the chance that they will be
Learning and Encoding in Long-term Memory
• Perceptual memories involve alterations in neurons in the sensory associated cortex,
visual memories in the visual cortex, auditory memories in the auditory cortex, etc.
• Memory involves both passive and active processes
• Consolidation: The process where info from short-term memory changes to long-term
memory- because of physical changes that occur in neurons in the brain.
o These structural changes make the info stronger, easier to remember, and resistant
• Retrograde amnesia: loss of the ability to retrieve memories of one’s past (episodic
memories). Sometimes caused by a blow to the head: a boxer
o Retrograde amnesia shows recent memories are affected more strongly than older
ones recent memories have had less time to be consolidated
• Long term potentiation: consolidation of memories involves the synthesis of proteins.
How are the proteins produced? Hebb suggested it was in response to neural activity =
o The molecular activity of genes should be considered in information terms
“Genomic Action Potential”: the way genes can be activated for minutes or hours
o Immediate Early Genes: genes that can be activated without the synthesis of
proteins: they are the first part of a chain triggered by action potential + other
o Genomic action potential does more than just strengthen an isolated connection. It
may strengthen secondary associations- linking an experience to a broader
context. • Craik & Lockhart proposed a “levels-of-processing” framework. Hierarchically arranged
from shallow to deep processing, a person can control the level of analysis by paying
attention to different features of the stimulus
• Maintenance rehearsal: simple repetition of information
o Shallow processing: the analysis of superficial characteristics of a stimulus
• Elaborative rehearsal: processing info on a meaningful level. Forming associations,
thinking about it, etc.
o Deep processing analysis of complex characteristics of a stimulus
(meaning/relationship to something else)
o Effortful processing: practicing/rehearsing thru either shallow or deep processing
o Automatic processing: the formation of memories with little or no attention paid
Usually related t