PSY270H1-S Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: Exam Review
By: Arjun Bhalla
Professor: Gillian Rowe
Exam Date: Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
Chapter Six: Distinguishing Between Long-Term Memory and Short-Term Memory
•Korsakoff’s Syndrome: a condition caused by a prolonged deficiency of vitamin B1, usually as a result of chronic
alcoholism. It leads to the destruction of the frontal and temporal lobes, which caused severe and permanent
impairments in memory.
•Anterograde Amnesia: the loss of the ability to assimilate or retain new knowledge.
•Retrograde Amnesia: the loss of memory for events that have happened in the past.
•Long Term Memory (LTM): the system that is responsible for storing information for long periods of time.
•Can be described as an “archive” of information about past events in our lives and knowledge we have learned.
•Basic facts: LTM=long, STM=short, LTM=very large capacity, STM=very small capacity.
•Serial position curve: indicates that memory is better for words at the beginning of the list and at the end of the list
than for words in the middle.
•Primacy effect: superior memory for stimuli presented at the beginning of a sequence. A possible explanation for
the primacy effect is that participants had time to rehearse these words and transfer them to LTM. So when a
person is told the first word, they start rehearsing the word. When the second word is presented, the attention of
rehearsal is divided. This is why less rehearsal is possible for later words.
•Recency effect: superior memory for stimuli presented at the end of the sequence. A possible explanation for the
recency effect is that the most recently presented words are still in the STM.
•Experiment: measured the participant’s curve after getting them to count backward for 30 seconds after hearing
the last word. This time allows for information to be lost in STM.
•Coding in LTM:
•Auditory, visual and semantic can occur in STM (with auditory and visual coding being the most prominent).
•LTM can also involve each of these processes.
•Semantic coding is the predominant type of coding in LTM.
•Jacqueline Sachs (1967): demonstrated the importance of meaning in LTM by getting participants to listen to
a tape recording of a passage and then measured their recognition memory to determine whether they
remembered the exact wording of the sentences in the passage or the general meaning of the passage.
•The finding that specific wording is forgotten but the general meaning can be remembered for a long time
has been confirmed in many experiments.
•Locating Short and Long-Term Memory in the Brain:
•Goal: describe some of the experiments that compare where STM/WM and LTM are separated in the brain.
•Determining dissociations: used to draw conclusions from case studies of brain-damaged patients.
•Studies of patients have determined a double dissociation between LTM and STM. This indicates that
STM and LTM operate independently and are served by different mechanisms.
•e.g. HM’s surgery where his hippocampus was removed on both sides of his brain: seizures ended, could
not form new LTM, while retaining STM.
•e.g. KM had the opposite problem.
•Some brain imaging experiments have demonstrated activation of different areas of the brain for STM
•Experiment: Instead of asking participants to recall the words, they presented a single ‘probe’ word. The
probe word was either a word from (1) the beginning of the list (2) from the end of the list or (3) or a new
word that hasn’t been presented earlier.
•It would be expected that areas associated with STM and LTM would be activated because words at the
beginning of the list would be in LTM and then transferred to STM when they are being recalled. In
contrast, probe words at the end of the list only activated areas associated with LTM.
•Types of Long Term Memory and Short Term Memory:
•Explicit memory: consists of episodic memory and semantic memory.
•Episodic memory: memory for personal experiences.
•Semantic memory: stored knowledge and memory for facts.
•These are referred to as explicit because their contents can be described or reported.