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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Attention and Memory.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Ashley Waggoner Denton

Chapter 7: Attention and Memory  Memory: the nervous system’s capacity to acquire and retain usable skills and knowledge How Does Knowledge Determine What is Remembered Visual Attention is Selective and Serial  Parallel Processing: these systems all process information at the same time and we can attend selectively to one feature by effectively blocking the further processing of others; allows us to process information form different visual features at the same time by focusing on targets (here, the red objects) over distractors. o some features that tend to pop out when targets differ from distractors are colour, motion, orientation and size  searching for two features is serial (you need to look at the stimuli one at a time) and effortful (takes longer and requires more attention) Auditory Attention Allows Selective Listening  cocktail party phenomena: you can focus on a single conversation in midst of a chaotic cocktail party, yet a certain stimulus, such as hearing your name mentioned in another conversation or hearing a juicy piece of gossip, can capture your attention  shadowing: the participant receives a different auditory messages in each ear, but is required to repeat (“shadow”) only one Selective Attention Can Operate on Multiple Stages of Processing  filter theory: selective nature of attention; attention is like a gate that opens for important information and closes for irrelevant information  attention helps people focus on important objects in their environments  unattended information is processed at least to some extent; extracted meaning from the word even though they didn’t process the word consciously  change blindness: common failure to notice large changes in environments o Hypothesis: people can be “blind” to large changes around them o Results: half of participants giving directions never notice they were talking to a different person (as long as the replacement was of the same race and sex as the original stranger) o Conclusion: change blindness results from inattention to certain visual information  Change blindness blindness is people’s unawareness that they often do not notice apparently obvious changes in their environments  Page 296. 1 a) attention has a rapid process that searches for one feature and a slower, serial process that searches for multiple features one at a time o 2 b) some of the unattended information is passed on for further processing, but it is weaker than attended information What are the Basic Stages of Memory?  Encoding phase: the processing of information so that it can be stored  Storage phase: the retention of encoded representations over time that corresponds to comes change in the nervous system that registers the event  Retrieval phase: the act of recalling or remembering stored information to use it  Modal Memory Model: the 3 stage memory system that involves sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory Sensory Memory is Brief  Sensory memory: memory for sensory information that is stored briefly close it is original sensory form  Sperling’s Sensory Memory Experiment: o Hypothesis: information in sensory memories is lost very quickly if it is not transferred for further processing o Results: when the tone sounded very shortly after the letters disappeared, participants remembered almost all the letters in the signalled row. The longer the delay between the disappearance of the letters and the tone, the worse the participants performed. o Conclusion: sensory memory persists for about one third of a second and then progressively fades  Our sensory memories allow us to experience the world as a continuous stream rather than in discrete sensations Working Memory is Active  Short-term memory (STM): a limited capacity memory system that holds information in awareness for a brief period  Working memory: an active processing system that keeps different types of information available for current use  Immediate memory: consists of our fleeting thoughts, ever-shifting feelings, and temporary impressions of things in the world  Information remains in working memory for about 20 to 30 seconds then disappears, unless you actively prevent that from happening by thinking about or rehearsing the information  Working memory lasts less than a half a minute without continuous rehearsing as a way to remember Memory Span and Chunking  George Miller: limited amount of information, limit is generally seven items (plus or minus two); may be limited to as few as four items; varies among individuals  Meaningful units are easier to remember; chunking: organizing information into meaningful units to make it easier to remember  In general, the greater your expertise with the material, the more efficiently you can chuck information and therefore the more you can remember  These 3 processes: retrieval, transformation, and substitution –make distinct and independent contributions to updating the contents of working memory…sometimes only one of the processes is necessary to update working memory Working Memory’s Four Parts  4 components of WM are: o The central executive: it is the control system; encodes info from sensory systems and then filters information that is sufficiently important to be stored in long term memory o The phonological loop: encodes auditory info and is active whenever a person tries to remember words by reading them, speaking them, or repeating them; words are processed in WM by how they sound rather than by how they look or what they mean o The visuospatial sketchpad: processes visual info, such as object’s features and where they are located o The episodic buffer: holds temporary information about oneself, drawing heavily on long-term episodic memory Long Term Memory is Relatively Permanent  Long-term memory (LTM): the relatively permanent storage of information Distinguishing LTM from WM  Two differences is duration and capacity  Items presented early or late in the list were remembered better than those in the middle, known as serial position effect: the ability to recall items from a list depends on order of presentation, with items presented early or late in the list remembered better than those in the middle  the primacy effect (has to do with LTM) refers to the better memory people have for items presented at the beginning of the list, whereas the recency effect (has to do with WM) refers to people’s better memory for the most recent items, the items at the end of the list  these case studies demonstrate that LTM can be dissociated (separated) from WM. However, the two memory systems are highly interdependent, at least for most of us, for instance to chunk info in WM, people need to form meaningful connections based on info stored in LTM What Gets into LTM  one possibility is that info enters permanent storage through rehearsal  memory researchers have also shown that overlearning in which you keep hehearsing material you already know pretty well, leads to improved memory, especially over longer periods of time  material studied in multiple sessions over time – through distributed practice – is remembered better than material studied in brief period, through massed practice, or cramming  conclusion from many years of research is that most efficient way to learn is to study for shorter periods (in time blocks long enough to get meaningful amount of info into memory) but to spread those study sessions out over several days or weeks  loss of info in memory really shows how well attention and memory function: we attend just enough for the task at hand and lose info that seems irrelevant  only info that helps us adapt to our environment is typically transformed into a LTM  evolutionary theory helps to explain how we decide in advance what information will be useful….memory allows us to use info in ways that assist in reproduction and survival What Are the Different LTM Systems?  Researchers at Toronto argued that memory is not just one entity but rather a process that involves several interacting systems  Although the systems share a common function –to retain and use info –they encode and store different types of info in different ways  Scientists do not agree on the number of human memory systems Explicit Memory Involves Conscious Effort  Implicit memory: the system underlying unconscious memories  Explicit memory: the processes involved when people remember specific info  Declarative memory: the cognitive info retrieved from explicit memory; knowledge that can be declared  Episodic memory: memory for one’s personal past experiences; ex. If you can th remember aspects of your 14 bday, such as where you were and what you did there  Semantic memory: memory for knowledge about the world; we might not remember where or when we learned it but we know it Implicit Memory Occurs without Deliberate Effort  Implicit memory consists of memories without awareness of them, so you are not able to put the memories into words  Does not require conscious attention, but happens automatically, without deliberate effort  False fame effect: read aloud a list of made-up names; then they were asked to read a list of names and decide whether each person was famous or not the next day…students misjudged some of the made-up names from previous day as being those of famous people o Because the participants knew they had heard the names before but could not remember where, implicit memory led them to assume familiar names were those of famous people  Implicit memory involved in repetition priming, the improvement in identifying or processing a stimulus that has been experienced previously  Another example of implicit memory is procedural memory (motor memory): a type of implicit memory that involves motor skills and behavioural habits employed to achieve goals, such as coordinating muscle movements to ride a bicycle or following the rules of the road while driving o Procedural memories have an automatic, unconscious aspect, so much so that most people find that consciously thinking about automatic behaviours interferes with the smooth production of those behaviours Prospective Memory is Remembering to Do Something  Prospective memory: remembering to do something at some time in the future  Remembering to do something takes up valuable cognitive resources either by reducing the number of items we can deal with in WM or by reducing the number of things we can attend to  Study: results indicated that the group that had to remember to do something took longer to learn the list than the control group that learned the same list of words but did not have to remember to do something  Prospective memory involves both automatic and controlled processes;  Prospective memory for events without retrieval cues is the reason sticky notes are so popular –by sticking one that says “Milk” on the steering wheel of your car, for example, you will ensure that you see it before heading home; by jogging your memory, the note helps you avoid the effort of remembering  Example of PM: when you use a device, such as PDA to remember appointments and deadlines, you are assisting your PM How is Information Organized in LTM? Long-Term Storage is Based on Meaning  Mental representations for complex and abstract ideas, including beliefs and feelings such as love  Memories are store representations  Memories are stored by meaning  Levels of Processing model: the more deeply an item is encoded, the more meaning it has and the better it is remembered. Craik and Lockhart proposed that different types of rehearsal lead to differential encoding. o Maintenance rehearsal is simply repeating an item over and over again o Elaborative rehearsal encodes info in more meaningful ways, such as thinking about the item conceptually or deciding whether it refers to oneself o this type of rehearsal we elaborate on basic information by linking it to knowledge from LTM o Encoding: participants are asked to consider a list of words according to how the words are printed, how they sound, or what they mean. Later they are asked to recall the words. At the biological level of analyses, brain imaging studies have shown that semantic encoding activates more brain regions than shallow encoding. This greater brain activity is associated with better memory Schemas Provide an Organizational Framework  Schema: a hypothetical cognitive structure that helps us perceive, organize, process, and use information  thanks to schemas we construct new memories by filling in holes within existing memories, overlooking inconsistent information, and interpreting meaning based on past experiences  example: notice how your schema for doing laundry helps you understand and remember how the words and sentences are connected to one another Information is Stored in Association Networks  networks of associations: the idea that our knowledge of the world is organized so that things related in meaning are linked in storage  each unit of representation is a node; each node is connected to many other nodes  an items characteristics and associates are linked to it  the closer the nodes, the stronger the association will be  a central tenet of spreading activation models of memory is the idea that activating one node increases the likelihood of associated nodes becoming active  according to these views, stimuli in WM activate specific nodes in LTM, and this activation increases the ease of access to that material, thereby facilitating retrieval  associative networks in the brain work similarly, and this hierarchical storage system allows us to find needed information quickly Retrieval Cues Provide Access to LT Storage  retrieval cue: anything that helps a person (or other animal) recall information from memory  retrieval cues’ power to explain why it is easier to recognize than to recall information  Because it is easier to recognize a correct answer than to recall it, many students prefer mc exams over essay exams. After all mc exams provides all the correct answers –you only have to recognize them Encoding Capacity  Encoding specificity principle: any stimulus that is encoded along with an experience can later trigger memory for the experience  this kind of memory enhancement, when the recall situation is similar to the encodi
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