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Short Term Memory Theories

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University of Toronto St. George
Gillian Rowe

Memory is the process of retaining retrieving and using information about stimuli events ideas and skills after the information is no longer present It is an integrated system that works together although some parts are more important or specialized for certain types It acquires stores and retrieves information If any of these three steps do not work properly the entire memory system may not function It has often been compared to a computer but memory actually has a limited capacity space time and resourcesThere are certain types of memoryTransienttemporarysensory memory shorttermworking memory Implicitexplicitdeclarative explicit nondeclarative implicitEpisodicevent memory The Question of CapacityHow much information can we hold at any one time for each systemHow long can people can hold onto it and how much do they forget How quickly or often does the information get lost How do you get your memory back What is the purpose of memoryIt is a sort of time traveling machine Memory is also important for many reasons that we take for granted such as recognizing objects people places faces and the like Take for example people that lose their memory there are individuals who have damaged temporal lobe which is important for forming new memories and cant remember anything past 1 or 2 minutes Memory is crucial for everything that we do like remembering an unfamiliar number temporarily short term memory Hold driving directions in mind while driving working memory holding something in mine while doing something else What you ate for dinner yesterday a week ago a year ago episodic memory something that happened to you remembering yourself doing something an actual event Do you remember how you learned the 911 terrorist attacksFlashbulb memoryFor simple facts are bananas edibleSemantic memoryTying shoe laces or riding a bicycle you dont actually think about doing these thingsproceduralimplicit memory Holds information about things we have learned how to do automatically and no longer have to think about The Modal Model of MemoryThis is an outdated model but it has many of the basic principles of memory The stages of memory in this model are called the structural features of the model and there are three1Sensory Memoryinitial stage which holds all incoming information for a short span of time usually a second or less2Shortterm memory STM If you pay attention and do something to the information in sensory memory it goes into shortterm memory It holds 57 items for 1530 seconds 3Longterm memory LTM If you repeat information in STM or think about it etc it goes into the LTM Holds a large amount of information for years or decades Whenever we do anything we bring information in from LTM into STM but the two still have mechanisms that make the two distinct and often the STM is simply considered a stepping stone to LTM Consider the experiment we did with word recall in class and the recency and primacy effectThis model of memory also includes a control processes This is and active processes that can be controlled by the thinker it is task dependant and varies individual to individual This can include rehearsal attention focus chunking etc It is crucial to remember that the components of memory do not act separately The Sensory MemoryRetains sensory stimulation for a brief period of time It is a temporary store and it even disputed at being a memory system in the first place It holds incoming information from the environment and stores raw and unanalyzed information it is modality specificConsider the sparklers trail which happens because of the retention of the perception of light called persistence of vision When watching movies the same thing happens You see frames projected onto the screen one by one in fast intervals and due to persistence of vision you see continuous action not still frames Sperlings ExperimentThis researcher challenged the concept of a limited perceptual spanSperling flashed an array of letters on the screen for 50 milliseconds and asked the participants to report as many of the letters as possible He used the whole report method because participants were asked to report as many letters are possible The average amount reported was 45 out of 12 letters However participants often told Sperling that they could see all the letters but just couldnt remember them
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