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Psychology – Chapter 7 Memory
Important Terms. Section 1 – Basic Stages of Memory
•Memory – the capacity of the nervous system to acquire and retain usable skills and knowledge, allowing living
organisms to benefit from the experience.
•Modal memory model – the three-stage memory system that involves sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-
1.Sensory Memory – memory that is stored briefly in its original sensory form. – Both types allow us to
experience the world as a continuous stream rather than in discrete sensations.
a.Visual Sensory memory – iconic memory
b.Auditory memory – echoic memory
2.Short-term memory (STM) – a limited-capacity memory system that holds information in awareness for a
brief period of time. – If memory is attended to it is passed from step 1 to step 2. (Can hold info for no longer
than 20 seconds
a.Memory span and chunking – you can only remember less than seven items at a time in your
memory span. Chunking is organizing information into meaningful units.
b.Working memory – an active processing system that keeps different types of information available
for current use.
i.Central executive – presides over the interaction between the subsystems and long-term
memory; encodes and filters info.
ii.Phonological loop – active when you read, speak or repeat words to yourself (in order to
iii.Visual sketchpad – processes visual info. Objects features and locations
3.Long-term memory (LTM) – permanent storage of information.
•Serial position effect – ability to recall items from a list depends on order of presentation, which items presented early or
late remembered better than those in the middle.
•Primacy effect – in a list, the better memory for items presented first. (Because one rehearses these items most)
•Recency effect – the better memory for items presented last.
•Distributed practice – learning taking place over a long period of time
•Massed practice – cramming information.
Section 2 – Different Memory Systems
•Explicit Memory – the process involved when people remember specific information. – Memory occurs without
conscious effort or intention.
•Declarative Memory – the cognitive information retrieved from explicit memory; knowledge that can be declared.
oExplicit memory refers to the process; declarative refers to the content of memory.
•Episodic Memory – memory from ones personal past experiences.
•Semantic Memory – memory for knowledge about the world.
•Episodic and Semantic memories are distinct form each other - this can be seen in brain injury – semantic may be intact
but episodic may be impaired.
oEx. British children who experienced brain injury as infants – they couldn’t remember what they had for lunch,
or to go to school but their IQs fell within the normal range. This was because they had poor episodic memory.
•Implicit Memory - the process by which people show an enhancement of memory, most often through behavior, without
deliberate effort and without any awareness that they are remembering anything.
oEx. Brushing teeth, driving. – Classical conditioning is an example of this type of memory. – This kind of
memory doesn’t require attention.
•Procedural Memory or Motor memory (Ex. of implicit memory) – a type of implicit memory that involves motor
skills and behavioral habits.
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oEx. Walking – right foot, up then move it forward and place it down…etc.
oFalse Fame Effect – a experiment where people were made to read a list of name, the next day they were asked
if any of the names were of famous people – the people remembered reading the names and tricked themselves
into thinking they had seen the name before, thus the person must be famous.
•Repetition Priming – the improvement in identifying or processing a stimulus that has previously been experienced. –
Implicit memory is also involved in this.
Section 3 – How is Information Organized in Long-Term Memory?
•Long-term memory is a temporal sequence.
•Encoding – the processing of information so that it can be stored.
oAre perceptual experiences are transformed into representations (or codes) – which are then stored. Ex. The
concept of “dog” is a mental representation – for a category of animals that share features – barking, fur.
•Storage – the retention of encoding representations over time that corresponds to some change in the nervous system that
register the event.
oStored receptions are referred to as memories.
•Retrieval – the act of recalling or remembering stored information in order to use it. – Often involves an explicit effort to
access the contents of memory storage. Many times it is implicit, remembering a friends name.
•Memories are stored by meaning – according to Craik and Lockhart the levels of processing model, the more deeply an
item is encoded, the more meaning it has, and better it is remembered.
•Maintenance Rehearsal – a type of encoding that involves continuously repeating an item.
•Elaborative Rehearsal – the encoding of information in a more meaningful way. Such as linking it to knowledge in long-
term memory. – More brain activity occurs during this process – more brain activity = greater memory.
•Schema – a hypothetical cognitive structure that helps us perceives, organize, process and use information.
oEx. People use there past memories and general knowledge about the world to shape incoming information. –
By doing so they construct new memories.
oEx. Fredrick Bartlett experiment – made people listen to native folklore, and fifteen minutes later repeat it back
to others, each person distorted the story a great deal, and did so in a consistent way - they shaped the story to
make sense from their own cultural standpoint.
•Networks of Association – each unit of information in the network is known as a node.
oEx. When you look at a fire engine, all the nodes connected to fire engines are activated. – The resulting pattern
of activation gives rise to knowing that the object is a fire engine, not a cat.
oActivating one node increases the likelihood that closely related nodes would also be activated. – The
closer the nodes the stronger their association will be. – More likelihood that activating one will activate the
•Activating one node, increases the likelihood that associated nodes will become active is the central tenet of ‘spreading
activation models of memory’
•Retrieval Cue – anything that helps us access information from Long-term memory. – This explains why it is easier to
recognize, than recall.
•Encoding Specificity principle – any stimulus that is encoded along with an experience can later trigger memory for the
oEx. 80 words, studied by students in specific room. – Then the students were asks to recall the words they
studied in the room they studied the words, or a different room. – It room 49 correct, diff. rooms 35 correct. –
The room was a retrieval cue.
oContext dependent memory – enhancement of memory when the recall situation is similar to the encoding
situation. – Based also on things such as odors, background music, and location.
•State Dependent memory – your memory being affected by physical state – mood, inebriation. Etc.
Section 4 – What Brain processes are involved in Memory?
•Engram – refers to the physical site of memory storage – Lashley.
•Equipotentialiatity - Memory is distributed through out the brain rather than any specific place.
Memory is stored in multiple locations and linked together through memory circuits.
•“Neurons that fire together, wire together”
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