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Chapter 7

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Sensory Memory, Occipital Lobe, Temporal Lobe

Course Code
Michael Inzlicht

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Psychology Module 7.1,
Case Study: An Ontario man lost control of his motorcycle and flew off exit ramp of
Toronto. He suffered head injury and required immediate brain surgery in order to treat
the swelling caused by the impact. Brain scans conducted showed extensive damage to
the medial temporal lobes (including the hippocampus) as well as to both frontal lobes
and the left occipital lobe. When the patient known as patient K.C recovered
consciousness doctors quickly noted that he had had severe memory impairments.
When psychologists at University of Toronto dug deeper they found that he had
retained some memory for general knowledge but that he had lost his episodic
memory: the memory of his specific experiences, could recall facts about his life (where
he lived) but could not recall personal experiences or feelings relating to those facts
(sitting on steps with friends). K.C devastating experience helped researchers prove that
we have different types of memory, each involving different networks of the brain
Memory: Is actually a collection of several system that store information different forms
for differing amounts of time (Atkinson and Schifrin 1968).
The Atkison-Shiffrin Model: In 1960 Richard Atkinson and Richard Shifferen reviewed
what psychologist s knew about memory at the time and constructed the memory
model that bears their name. The first thing to notice about the model is that it includes
three memory stores. Stores: Retain information in memory without using it for any
specific purpose; they essentially serve the same purpose as hard drives serve for a
computer. The three stores include: sensory memory, Short term memory (STM) and
long term memory (LTM). In addition, control processes: Shift informational from one
memory store to another; they are represented by the arrows in the model. Information
enters the sensory memory store through vison, hearing, and other senses and the
control process we call attention: selects which information will be passed on to STM.
Some (but not all) information in STM goes through encoding: the process of storing
information in the LTM system. Retrieval: brings information from LTM back into STM;
this happens when you become aware of existing memories such as remembering the
movie you saw last week.
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A Test of Iconic Sensory Memory: “perlig’s partiipats ieed a grid of letter flashed
on a screen for a split second, then attempted to recall as many of the letters as
possible, In the whole report condition (a) the average approximately four item usually
from a single row. By compariso as “perlig’s deostrated, the ould reeer
more than four items in the partial report condition (b). In these trials, particular
participants could usually name any row of four item depending on the tow they were
cued to recite.
Sensory Memory: Is a memory store that accurately hold perceptual information for a
very brief amount of time. Brief depends on which sensory system.
Iconic Memory: The visual form of sensory memory; is held for about one-half to one
Echoic memory: The auditory form of sensory memory is held for considerably longer
but still only for about five seconds.
How much information can be held in the sensory memory? Is a difficult question
because sensory memories disappear faster than we can report them?
If sensory memory disappears really quickly than how do, we have continuous
perception? Attention allows us to move small amount of the information from our
sensory memory into SYM for further processing. This information is often referred to as
eig ithi the spotlight of attetio. Iforatio that is outside of this spotlight of
attention is not transferred into STM and quite unlikely to be remembered.
Relationship between attention and sensory memory can be explained through
something known as Change Blindness. In a change blindness experiment participants
view two nearly identical versions of a photograph or other stimuli, that has only one
difference between them. The goal is to locate the difference.
Although transferring information from sensory into short term memory increases the
chance that information will be remembered later, not guaranteed. This is because of
Short term memory (STM): Is a memory store with limited capacity and duration (less
than a minute). The capacity of STM was summed as psychologists as The Magical
Number 7+ - 2. Miller found study after study in which participants were able to
remember seven units of information, give or take a couple. The STM can rehearse only
seven units of information at once before forgetting something.
This leads to an important question, what is unit formation? Answers vary from
situation to situation. Whenever possible we expand our memory capacity with
Chunking: Organizing smaller units of information into larger more meaningful units.
The ability to chunk material varies from situation to situation. (Chess example, or
expertise STM setting up random assignment or not)
Not all information that enters STM is retained. A large portion is lost forever. Instead
only small amount of information from STM is encoded or transformed into memory
traces. Encoding allows information to enter the final memory store in the Atkinson
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Shiffrin model. This store, long term memory (LTM): holds information for extended
periods of time, if not permanently. Unlike short-term memory, long term memory has
no capacity limitations. All of the information that undergoes encoding will be entered
in the LTM.
Once entered into LTM, the information needs to be organized. Researcher have
identified two ways in the which the organization occurs. One way is based on semantic
categories that the items belong to. LTM is also organized based on the sounds of the
word and how the world looks. Explains the tip of the tongue (TOT) phenomenon when
you are able to retriever similar sounding words or words that start with same letter but
not that exact word.
Haig the iforatio i LTM does’t eessaril ea that you can have access it
when you want to. Because this would mean that everyone would have perfect grade
point average. The likelihood of retrieval is a process of accessing memorized
information and returning it back to short term memory-is influenced by number of
factors, including quality of original encoding and the strategies used to to retrieve
The Serial Positon Effect: Memory for the order of events is often superior for original
items (the primacy effect) and later items (the receny effect). The serial position effect
provides evidence of distinct short term and long term memory stores. People will recall
the first few items from a list and the last few items but only an item or two from the
The shape of the serial position effect, suggests that there are tow different processes at
work. First item that were at the beginning of the list produce proactive interference: A
process in which the first information learned (e.g. in a list of words) occupies memory,
leaving fewer resources to remember the newer information. The last fewer items
create retroactive interference: That is the most recently learned information
overshadows, some older memories, that have not yet made it into long term memory.
Together these two types of interference would result in poorer memory performance
for items in the middle of a list.
The idea of multiple memory stores is theoretically interesting and can explain some of
the minor memory problems we all experience (forgetting parts of phone numbers,).
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