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Chapter 7

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September 12, 2013 Chapter 7: Memory-Constructing and Reconstructing our Pasts -Hyperthymestic Syndrome Memory that’s too good. -Guided Imaginary therapists ask clients to imagine past events -Hypnotic Age Regressiontherapists use hypnosis to “return” clients to their psychological state or childhood -Memories define not only our past, but also our sense of identity -When memories change, so do our identities -Dissociative Identity Disorder or DID known as a multiple personality disorder which is characterized by the existence of “alter” personalities or “alters” (changes). How Memory Operates: The Memory Assembly Line -Memory- retention of information over time -Paradox of Memory- our memories are good in some situations and poor in others ex) riding a bike ex) forget names of people we met over and over again Paradox of Memory -The same memory mechanisms that serve us well in most circumstances can sometimes cause us problems in others When our Memories Serve Us Well -Research shows that our memories are often astonishingly accurate, most of us can recognize our schoolmates decades later and recite the lyrics to dozens, even hundreds of songs -Infantile Autismmemories of a small subset of individuals with a condition -Most individuals with autism lack specialized memory abilities -Calendar Calculator: If you gave someone any past or future date, they’d give you the correct day of the week in a matter of seconds When our Memories Fail Us -Many others of us have extremely good memories in one or two narrow domains (art history, baseball batting averages, music trivia) -Another case being memory can be surprisingly malleable and prone to error -Most and perhaps all of us are vulnerable to false memories under the right conditions -Memory Illusions A false but subjectively compelling memory -Like visual illusions, most memory illusions are by-products of our brains generally adaptive tendency to go beyond the information available -Our brain helps us make sense of the world, but it sometimes leads us astray -Representatives Heuristic- like goes with like, we simplify things to make them easier to remember The Reconstructive Nature of Memory -Memories frequently fool us and fail us September 12, 2013 -Memories are far more reconstructive than reproductive -When we try to recall an event, we actively reconstruct memories using the cues and information available to us; we don’t passively reproduce our memories as we would if we were downloading information from a web page -Observer Memorya memory in which we see ourselves as an outside observer would -Sigmund Freud noted observer memories provide an existence proof that at least some of our memories are reconstructive. -You don’t see yourself when you look at your surroundings: you must have constructed that memory rather than recalled in its original form -Field Memoryseeing the world through your visual field -Asians more likely than European Americans to experience observer memories and European Americans are more likely than Asians to experience field memories -Memories are shaped not only by our hunches and expectations, but also by our cultural backgrounds -Surveys indicate that many or most people believe that our memories operate like video cameras or DVDs, replaying events as we saw them -Most psychotherapists believe that everything we learn is permanently stored in the mind The Three Systems of Memory -Three systems of memory: sensory memory, short-term and long-term memory -However these systems vary along two important dimensions o Span: how much information each system can hold o Duration: over how long a period of time that system can hold information -Sensory Memorytied closely to raw materials of our experiences, our perceptions of the world; holds these perceptions for a few seconds or less before passing some of them on to the second system -Short-term Memoryworks actively with the information handed to it, transforming it into more meaningful material before passing some of it on -Long-term Memorypermits us to retain important information for minutes, days, weeks, months, or even years Sensory Memory -Maintains our perceptions in a “buffer” area before passing them on to the next memory system -Buys our brains a bit of extra time to process incoming sensations -Allows us to “fill in the blanks” in our perceptions and see the world as an unbroken stream of events -Each sense, including vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell has its own form of sensory memory -Ironic memory is held when we watch television or movie clips -Ironic memory type of sensory memory that applied to vision; lasts for only about a second and then they’re gone forever -Ironic memories fade so quickly that we can’t access all of the information before it disappears -Eidetic Imagery AKA “photographic memory”  supposedly hold a visual image in their September 12, 2013 minds with such clarity that they can describe it perfectly or almost perfectly -Also applies to hearing (sensory memory) -If read the sentence, “sensory memory also applies to hearing” and pause for a few moments after saying it, you’ll be able to replay the words as you heard them for a few seconds -Echoic Memorycan last as long as to five to ten seconds conveniently permitting you to take notes on your psychology professors most recent sentence after he or she has finished saying it Short-term Memory -Retaining information in our memories for brief periods of time -Second factory worker in our memory assembly line -closely related to “working memory” -Working memoryrefers to our ability to hold on to information were currently thinking about, attending to, or processing actively -Workspace where construction happens The Duration of Short-term Memory -Results found out that after 10-15 seconds, most participants did no better than chance -Duration of short term memory is brief; it’s no longer than about 20 seconds -Many people misuse the term short-term memory in everyday language Ex) they may say “short term memory isn’t working” because they forgot what they had for dinner yesterday—short-term memory if more briefer than that Memory Loss from Short-Term Memory: Decay versus Interference -Short term memories decay (fade away over time) -the longer we wait, the less is left -Interference our memories get in the way of each other -Memories are very much like radio signals; they don’t change over time, but they’re harder to detect if they’re jammed by other signals -Evidence for decay: comes from research suggesting that the bird of a new neurons in the hippocampus leads to the decay of memories in the brain region -As we create new memories, our old ones fade away -Even stronger evidence for the role of interference in memory loss -Interference is the major factor in forgetting -Both decay and interference play some role in short-term memory loss -Retroactive interferenceoccurs when learning something new hampers earlier language: the new interferes with the old -Proactive interferenceoccurs when earlier learning gets in the way of new learning: The old interferes with the new -Both retroactive and proactive are likely to occur when the old and new stimuli that we’ve learned are similar The Capacity of Short-term Memory: The Magic Number -Digit span of most adults is between five and nine digits, with an average of seven digits -Magic Numberreferred to seven plus or minus two pieces of information -Average people can retain about seven pieces of information and it applies to all information we encounter: numbers, letters, people, vegetables, and cities September 12, 2013 -Research indicates we cannot focus on more than four items in short-term memory -our capacity for short term memory is extremely limited Chunking -We can expand our ability to remember things in the short term by using a technique called chunking -Chunkingorganizing material into meaningful groupings -Ex) N H L P E I C B C N B A M LA  NHL, PEI, CBC, NBA, MLA Rehearsal -Rehearsalrepeating the information mentally, or even out loud -Keep the information “alive” in our short-term memories, just as a juggler keeps a bunch of bowling pins “alive” by continuing to catch them and toss them back in the air -If we stop rehearing and shift our attention elsewhere, we’ll lose material from our short-term memory -Maintenance rehearsalrepeating the stimuli in their original form; we don’t attempt to change the original stimuli in any way -We engage our M.R. whenever we hear a phone number and keep repeating it- either out loud or in our minds-until we’re ready to dial the number -This way, we keep the information “alive” in our short-term memory -If someone interrupts us while we are rehearsing, we’ll forget it -Elaborative Rehearsal “elaborate” on the stimuli we need to remember by linking them in some meaningful way (visualizing them or trying to understand their interrelationship) -Ex of Maintenance  simply repeat the words in each pair over and over again as we heard it (dog-shoe, dog-shoe) -Ex of Elaborative to remember dog-shoe, we could picture a god wearing shoes -Rote memorization is typically the best means of retaining information Depth of Processing -Consistent with a levels of processing model of memory -The more deeply we process information, the better we tend to remember rit -Model identifies three levels of processing: Visual, phonological (sound-related) Semantic (meaning-related) -Visual is the most shallow -Phonological is less shallow -Semantic is the deepest “ALL PEOPLE CREATE THEIR OWN MEANING OF LIFE” Visual processing- you might try to focus on the fact the sentence consists entirely of capital letters Phonological- you’d focus on how the words in the sentence sound, you’d repeat the sentence again and again until it began to sound boringly familiar Semantic- you’d emphasize the sentence’s meaning, you might elaborate on how you’ve tried to create your own meaning of life and how doing so has been helpful to you September 12, 2013 -According to psychologists, it’s impossible to determine how deeply we’ve processed a memory, so we could never independently test the claim that more deeply processed memories are better remembered -The more meaning we can supply to a stimulus, the more likely we are to recall it in the long term Long-Term Memory -Store of information includes the facts, experiences and skills we’ve acquired over our lifetimes Differences between long-term memory and short term -Capacity of long term memory is huge -scientists estimate a typical persons memory holds as much information as 500 complete sets of “Encyclopedia Britannica” -information in long-term memory often endures for years, even decades and sometimes permanently while short term stays for about 20 seconds -If you took a Spanish course, after about two years the decline becomes quite gradual, it begins to level out after a while, with almost no additional loss for up to 50 years after they took the course. Bahrick referred to this as long term memory, which remains “Frozen” -Permastorean analogy the permafrost found in the Arctic or Antarctic that never melts -Mistakes we made in long-term differ from those we make in short-term memory -Long term memory errors are semantic- based on the information we’ve received might remember a “poodle” as a “terrier” -Short term memory errors are acoustic- based on the sound of the information we’ve received misremember hearing “noodle” rather than “poodle” Primacy and Recency Effects -When we try to remember a large number of items (grocery list) we often forget some of them -Primacy effect: tendency to remember stimuli, like words early in a list -Recency effect: tendency to remember stimuli later in a list -Recency effect happens when you recall the words at the end of the list first as they are still fresh in short-term memory -von Restorff effect: tendency to remember stimuli that are distinctive or that stick out like sore thumbs from other stimuli -Serial positive curve- graph on both primacy and Recency effects on people’s ability to recall items on a list -Primacy effect reflects the operation of long-term memory Types of Long-Term memory -Semantic memoryknowledge of facts about the world -Episodic memoryour recollection of events in our lives -Semantic memory tends to activate the left frontal cortex more than the right frontal cortex -Episodic memory tends to activate right frontal cortex -Both are examples of explicit memoryprocess of recalling information intentionally -Implicit memoryprocess of recalling information we don’t remember deliberately September 12, 2013 doesn’t require the conscious effort on our part ex)we can all go through the steps of unlocking a door without recalling the sequence of actions. We probably can’t tell without re-enacting it in our heads of actually standing in the front of our doors which way the key turns -Implicit memory contains habituation, classical conditioning -Procedural Memory memory for motor skills and habits (how to do things even things we do automatically without thinking how to do them) ex) opening a coke can -Semantic know what memory -Proceduralknow how memory -Priming Memoryrefers to our ability to identity a stimulus more easily or more quickly when we’ve previously encountered similar stimuli The Three Process of Memory -Encoding -Storage -Retrieval **Note: the three systems sensory, short and long term memory refers to the “what” of memory. These three processes refer to the “how” of memory** -These explain how information gets transferred into long-term memory and gets back out again when we need it -Ex) When a new book arrives at a library, you first give it a number to identify it- Encoding Then you file it away on the bookshelf- Storage Then when you want to find the book a few weeks, month, years later, you go to the shelf and fetch it- Retrieval Encoding: The “Call Numbers” of the Mind -Refers to the process of getting information into our memory -To remember something, we first need to make sure the information is in a format our memories can use -Many of our memory failures are failures of encoding -Once we lose the chance to encode an event, we’ll never remember it. **No encoding, no memory* The Role of Attention -To encode something, we must first attend to it -Much of our everyday experience never gets into our brain in the first place -Encoding helps to explain the familiar next-in-line effectbeing so preoccupied with what you were going to say that you weren’t paying much attention to what the person right before you was saying Mnemonics: Valuable Memory Aids -Mnemonicsa learning aid, strategy or device that enhances recall -Helps us encode memories in a way that makes them easier to recall -Differ from these “external” memory aids in that they rely on internal mental strategies-namely, strategies we use during encoding that help us later retrieve useful information September 12, 2013 -Mnemonics share two major features: we can apply them to a wide variety or material: names of plants, elements of period table Most mnemonics depend on having a store of knowledge to begin with -They are more helpful as mental shortcuts for recalling lists of information we’ve already learned Mnemonic Approaches Pegword Method -Rhyming is a key component of the Pegword, often used to recall lists of words -It’s essential to memorize a list like this one: ex) (1) one is a bun (2) two is a shoe (3) three is a tree (4) four is a door Method of Loci -Relies on imaginary of places- locations ex) to get to the café, you take the elevator, then you walk under a huge tree before you pass the fountain, and so on -If you need to remember give words in a particular order, think of five things you’ll encounter on your way to the cafe; if you need to recall ten words, imagine ten locations along your route -If you were trying to remember a list of memory terms, you might imagine chinks of rocks or glass on the floor Keyword Method -Depends on your ability to think of an English word (the keyword) that reminds you of the world you’re trying to remember ex) casa in Spanish means house. Think of a word like case that sounds like or brings casa. Now think of an image that combines case (or another word of your choice) and house. Maybe you can picture a case of soda on the rood of your house. When you think of this image, it should help you retrieve the meaning of casa Storage: Filling away our Memories -Process of keeping information in memory -How we store our experiences in memory depends on our interpretation and expectations of these events The Value of Schemas -Schemaorganized knowledge structure or mental model that we’ve stored in memory -Schema for restaurants is characterized by a set order of events, sometimes called a script -ex) seated, given menus, wait for food, eat, get the cheque, pay, tip and leave -serve a valuable function: they equip us with frames of reference for interpreting new situations -Without schemas, we’d find information almost impossible to comprehend Schemas and Memory Mistakes -They can sometimes create problems for us -They can lead us to remember things that never happened -Schemas simplify, they help you make sense of the world -They can sometimes oversimplifybad because they can produce memory illusions September 12, 2013 -they provide one key explanation of the paradox memory: enhance memory in some cases, but lead to memory errors in others Memory Concept Pointer 1) Distributed versus massed study Spread your study time out- review your notes and text in increments rather than cramming 2) Testing Effect Test yourself frequently on the material you’ve read 3) Elaborative Rehearsal Connect new knowledge with existing knowledge rather than simply memorizing facts or names 4) Levels of Processing Work to process ideas deeply and meaningfully-avoid writing notes down word for word from instructors lectures or slides. Try to capture information in your own words 5) Mnemonic Devices The more reminders or cues you can connect from your knowledge base to a new material, the more likely you are to recall new material when tested Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomenon -we’re sure we know the answer to a question but can’t come up with it experience of knowing that we know something but being unable to access it -TOT phenomenon tells us that there is a difference between something we’ve forgotten because it didn’t get stored in memory and something that’s in there somewhere that we can’t quite retrieve Encoding Specificity: Finding Things Where We Left Them -We’re more likely to remember something when the conditions present at the time we encoded it are also present at retrieval phenomenon of remembering something better when the conditions under which we retrieve information are similar to the conditions under which we encoded it Context-Dependent Learning -Refers to superior retrieval when the external context of the original memories matches the retrieval context ex) students tend to do better on their exams when tested in the same classroom in which they learned the material State-Dependent Learning -Refers to internal state of the organism rather than the external context September 12, 2013 -Refers to superior retrieval of memories when the organisms is in the same physiological or psychological state as it was during encoding -ex) people who’ve learned a task
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