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PSYB57H3 (369)
Dwayne Pare (122)
Chapter 5


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University of Toronto Scarborough
Dwayne Pare

PSYB57 – Chapter 5: The Acquisition of Memories and the Working-Memory System The Route into Memory  For many years theorizing in cognitive psychology was done by information processing  Theorizing within this approach focused on the process through which info was perceived and then moved into memory storage  A simplified version of the information processing model was the modal model Updating the Modal Model  Information processing requires different kinds of memory  Sensory memory  iconic + echoic memory  short-term memory  long-term memory  Short-term memory = working memory  Long-term memory = repository that contains all knowledge and beliefs  Information has to pass working memory in order to become long term  How do working memory and long-term memory differ? o Working memory is limited in size and long-term memory is vast o Getting info into working memory is easy o Getting info out of working memory is easy; finding info in long-term memory can be effortful and slow o Contents of working memory are fragile Working Memory and Long-Term Memory: One Memory or Two?  Free call procedure = patients hear a series of words and are told to repeat as many as they can remember in any order  12-15/30 words is the average number of words remembered  First few words are extremely likely to be remembered = primacy effect  Last few words are likely to be remembered = recency effect  When participants hear the first word they rehearse it several times to themselves (memory rehearsal) and continue to rehearse each word until each word starts to get less and less attention  The early words have a greater chance of being transferred into LTM since more time and rehearsal was devoted to them  An activity interpolated between the list and recall essentially eliminates the recency effect but it has no influence elsewhere in the list  Slowing the list presentation should have no effect on working memory performance A Closer Look at Working Memory Function of Working Memory  Digit span test can be used to test working memory Digit Span  7 +/-2 chunks/ packages  Chunking process has a cost that it takes effort to repackage the materials and with some amount of attention spent in this way, less attention is available for rehearsing these items  Through practice, a person’s chunking strategy can be changed by not the capacity of the working memory itself Operation Span  Working memory is like a box; how much space is there in the box? (traditional view)  Working memory in the modern conception is thought to be more dynamic and best thought of as a status rather than a place  Modern theorists measure the memory capacity in terms of operation span, a procedure that explicitly measures working memory when it is working  Reading span test is used o Participants read aloud series of sentences and then repeat the last words of the sentences until the limit is located o Limit defines working memory capacity (WMC)  Performance with this test is more likely to reflect efficiency with which working memory will operate in natural setting  People with a larger span should do better in tasks that require coordination of different pieces of info o People with greater WMC have an advantage in many settings The Working-Memory System  Central executive runs our mental operations  Central executive is needed for the work in working memory  Executive has helpers o Visuo-spatial buffer (storing visual material) o Articulatory rehearsal loop (storing verbal material) The Central Executive  Central executive = executive control process  The executive control processes allow us to make goals and helps us implement those goals but it can only work at one task at a time Entering Long-Term Storage: The Need for Engagement Two Types of Rehearsal  Maintenance rehearsal = focus on the to-be-remembered items with little thought given about what the items mean or how they are related to each other o Provides no long term benefits  Relational/elaborative rehearsal = thinking about what the to-be-remembered items mean and how they’re related to each other o Superior to maintenance rehearsal  If you think about something in a mindless and mechanical fashion, the items will not be established in memory The Need for Active Encoding  In a study, participants were given a succession of words to memorize, and their brain activity was recorded during this initial presentation  The brain scans were divided into 2 types o Those showing brain activity during the encoding of words that were remembered lat
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