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Chapter 7

PSY100 Psychological Science (3rd Ed.) Textbook Notes Chapter 7

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University of Toronto St. George
Alison Luby

CHAPTER 7 ATTENTION AND MEMORY -Memory: the nervous systems capacity to acquire and retain usable stills and knowledge -H.M. suffered from severe epilepsy (seizures are uncontrolled random firings of groups of neurons; can spread across the brain) originating in temporal lobes; doctors removed parts of medial temporal lobes, including hippocampus Lost ability to form new long-term memories, but was able to learn new motor tasks Attention Determines What is Remembered Visual Attention -we automatically identify primitive features (color, shape, orientation and movement) within environment -parallel processing: allows us to process information from different visual features at the same time by focusing on targets over distracters (e.g. a red object in the midst of black objects) In visual/feature search tasks studies, ppl look at display of diff objects on screen and search for targets which differ from the others in only one feature -features like color, size, motion, orientation pop out when targets differ from distracters -searching for single feature is fast and automatic but searching for two features is serial (need to look at stimuli one at a time) and effortful (takes longer); e.g trying to find objects both blue and square among many Auditory Attention -talking on cellphone, even hands-free cellphone, while driving more hazardous than talking w/ passenger in the car; person talking to driver on phone does not know whats happening but driver talking to passenger can signal that conversation needs to pause as situations demand -cocktail party phenomenon: a pertinent stimulus (like hearing your name) at chaotic cocktail party will capture your attention (proximity and loudness may affect what you will attend to but your selective attention can determine what conversation you hear) -in selective-listening studies, researchers can use shadowing, in which participant receives different auditory messages in each ear but is required to repeat (shadow) only one; the subject notices the unattended sound but has no knowledge of content Selective Attention -filter theory: assumes that ppl have a limited capacity for sensory information and thus screen incoming information, letting in only the most important; attention is a gate that opens for important info, closes for irrelevant info Some stimuli, like those that evoke emotions, readily capture attention b/c they provide important info about potential threats in environment Same object produces stronger attentional response when it is viewed as socially relevant (e.g. an eye) than when it viewed as nonsocial (e.g. arrowhead) Faces capture attention b/c they provide important social info (e.g. whether someone is dangerous) Faces, esp. when threatening, are prioritized over less meaningful stimuli by attentional system -studies show that unattended info is process at least to some extent; in selective-listening studies, even when ppl cannot repeat unattended words, those presented with river interpreted same attended message differently than ppl presented with monkey -change blindness: the common failure to notice large changes in environments Half of ppl in studies giving directions to stranger never noticed they were talking to diff person when stranger is changed as long as replacement is the same race and sex Shows we can attend to limited amount of info and shows how attention influences memory -change blindness blindness: ppls unawareness that they often do not notice obvious changes to environment (ppl believe that they always notice large changes b/c ppl often do not find out about the things they failed to perceive) Basic Stages of Memory -Information Processing Model: (analogous to computers) (2) Storage (3) Retrieval (1) Encoding Information is Information is Information is acquired and processed stored in brain retrieved when Sensory Input (e.g. stored on needed in to neural code (e.g. information computer hard (e.g.shows up on entered on keyboard) drive) comp. screen) Retrieval -Modal Memory Model: framework for basic stages of memory (1) Sensory (2) Short-term (3) Long-term Sensory Input Memory Memory Memory Unattended Attention Unrehearsed Encoding Some information may information is lost information is lost be lost over time Maintenance Rehearsal Sensory Memory -Sensory Memory: memory for sensory information that is stored briefly close to its original sensory form; we are not aware that it is operating -occurs when light, sound, odour, taste or tactile impression leaves vanishing trace on the nervous system for a fraction of a second -In Sperlings experiment, ppl looked at a screen on which three rows of letters flashed for 1/20 of second; tones were sounded at different intervals after letters displayed (e.g. 0.15 sec after, 0.30 sec after, etc.) for ppl to recall the letters in each row (different tones for different rows); the longer the delay b/w disappearance of letters and tone, worse the participants recalled the letters Sensory memory persists for about 1/3 of a second and progressively fades -sensory memory allow us to experience world as continuous (keeps information long enough to connect one image with the next) Working Memory -short-term memory (STM): limited-capacity memory system that holds information in awareness for brief period (but longer than the fraction of second that sensory memory lasts) The short-term memory system is working memory (WM): an active processing system that keeps different types of information available for current use (aka. Immediate memory) Analogous to Random-access memory (RAM) in computers -information remains in WM for 20-30 seconds then disappears unless you actively prevent that from happening by thinking about or rehearsing the information -George Miller (cognitive psychologist) said that WM can hold 7 2 items; called memory span; recent-research says WM may be limited to four items Items can be letters/groups of letters, groups of numbers, words, concepts -chunking: organizing information into meaningful units to make it easier to remember; more efficiently you chunk, the more you can remember (meaningful units more easy to remember than nonsense units) -WM is updated by three processes: retrieval, transformation and substitution Sometimes only one of processes in necessary to update WM (e.g. to transform 25 to 20, person may not have to retrieve 20, just substitute new number into WM) Four Components of Working Memory Phonological Loop Speech, words, numbers Temporarily holds auditory/ Central Executive visuospatial/ Episodic Buffer Long-Term personally Integrated info about oneself Coordinates material Memory relevant info Visuospatial Sketchpad Visual and spatial material-central executive encodes information from sensory systems then filters important info to be stored in long-term memory; retrieves information from long-term memory as needed -phonological loop encodes auditory information and is active when person tries to remember words by reading them People tend to make errors when trying to remember consonants w/ consonants that sound similar (like D & T) rather than those that look similar (like Q & D) Recall is poorer when words on list sound the same than when they sound dissimilar but related in meaning; words processed in WM by how they sound rather than how they look or what they mean -visuospatial sketchpad processes visual info and where they are located (e.g. allows you to keep track of where a dog is and whether you need to be aware of the dog during dog walking) -patients may have difficulty remembering words (phonological) but may be good at remembering spatial layouts (visuospatial); shows WM is more than all-inclusive storage system -episodic buffer hold temporary information about oneself and draws heavily on long-term episodic memory Long-Term Memory -Long-Term Memory: relatively permanent storage of information (analogous to computer hard-drive); LTM is nearly limitless -different from WM in duration and capacity -evidence that LTM and WM are separate systems come from studies where ppl recalled long list of words; demonstrated serial position effect -Serial position effect: the ability to recall items from a list depends on order of presentation items presented early or late in list is remember better than those in middle Primary effect: better memory ppl have for items at the beginning Recency effect: better memory ppl have for most recent items (end of list) relies on distinction b/w LTM and WM: earliest items are transferred to LTM b/c ppl rehearse early items the most; the last few items are still in WM when participants have to recall items immediately
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