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Psychology (9,578)
PSYA02H3 (932)
Chapter 8


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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

CHAPTER 8: MEMORY PART I: OVERVIEW OF MEMORY - Memory: the cognitive processes of encoding, storing, and retrieving information. - Encoding: the process by which sensory information is converted into a form that can be used by the brains memory system. - Storage: the process of maintaining information in memory, - Retrieval: the active process of locating and using stored information. - In 1949, Donald Hubb used this active/latent distinction to suggest tat the brain re- membered info in 2 different ways, a view known today as dual trace theory. - Information that was active was in this state because neurons were firing continuously. - Hebb thought that this activity was due to the feedback circuits of neurons. - The brain therefore retained traces of an experience either in an active state or in the latent structural state. - In the 1960s, Richard Atkinson and Richard Schiffon suggested a way of thinking about memory that psychologists have found useful. - They proposed that memory takes at least three forms: sensory memory, short term memory, long term memory. - The first 2 roughly correspond to memory systems that retain active traces, while the last retains latent traces. - Sensory memory: memory in which representations of the physical features of a stimu- lus are stored for very brief durations. - This form of memory is difficult to distinguish from the action of perception. - The info contained in sensory memory represents the original stimulus fairly accurately and contains all or most of the info that has just been perceived. - The function of sensory memory appears to be to hold info long enough of it to be- come part of the next form of memory: short term memory. - Short-term memory: an immediate memory for stimuli that have just been perceived. It is limited in terms of both capacity (7+ 2 chunks of information) and duration (less than 20 seconds). - Long-term memory: memory in which information is represented on a permanent or near-permanent basis. - The implication that information flows from one type of memory to another has been termed the modal model of memory because it seems to be so widely assumed. PART II: SENSORY MEMORY Iconic Memory - Iconic memory: a form of sensory memory that holds a brief visual image of a scene that has just been perceived; also known as visible persistence. Echoic Memory - Echoic memory: a form of sensory memory for sounds that have just been perceived. - Echoic memory holds a representation of the initial sounds until the entire word has been heard. PART III: SHORT-TERM OR WORKING MEMORY Encoding of Information in the Short Term: Interaction with Long-Term Memory - Information can enter short-term memory form 2 directions: from sensory memory or from long-term memory. - Working memory: memory for new information and information retrieved from long- term memory; used in this text as another name for short-term memory. Primacy and Recency Effects - Primacy effect: the tendency to remember initial information. In the memorization of a list of words, the primacy effect is evidenced by better recall of the words early in the list. - Recency effect: the tendency to recall later information. In the memorization of a list of words, the recency effect is evidenced by better recall of the last words in the list. - The primacy effect appears to be due to the fact that words earlier in a list have the op- portunity to be rehearsed more than do words in other parts of a list. - The recency effect appears to be due to the fact that words at the end of the list were the last to be heard they are still available in short-term memory. The Limits of Working Memory - john brown (1958) and lloyd and margaret peterson (1959): stimuli remain working memory for less than 20 seconds unless they are rehearsed. - Muter (1980): found that an unexpected distractor seriously disrupted working memory: most people found it hard to recall three letters after only 2 seconds. - Miller (1956): in a paper entitled the magical number seven, plus or minus 2 demon- strated that people could retain, on average, about seven pieces of info in their short term memories: seven numbers, seven letters, seven unrelated words, or seven tones of a particular pitch. - Chunking: a process by which information is simplified by rules, which make it easily remembered once the rules are learned. For example, the string of letters GSTCBCR-CMP are easier to remember if a person learns the rule that organizes them into smaller chunks: GST, CBC, RCMP. - The actual limit of short term memory is seven chunks, not necessarily seven individu- al items. Thus, the total amount of information we can store in short term memory de- pends on the particular rules we use to organize it. - The capacity of short term memory for verbal material is not measured in letters, sylla- bles, or words, but instead depends on how much meaning the information has. - When the items are related we can store many more of them. Varieties of Working Memory - Baddeley (1993, 2000): suggested that working memory consists of several compo- nents, all coordinated by a central executive function. - > Phonological Working Memory - Evidence suggests that the short term storage of words, whether originally presented visually or acoustically occur in phonological short term memory. - Phonological short-term memory: short term memory for verbal information. - Phonological memory may be produced by activity in the auditory system- say, circuits in
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