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Chapter 8

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Short-Term Memory, Long-Term Memory, Mnemonic

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Terry Biggs

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Chapter 8: Memory
1. In what ways is memory like an information-processing system?
-Memory: processes that allow us to record and later retrieve experience and information
- mind is a processing system that encodes, stores, and retrieves information
-Encoding: getting information into the system by translating it into a neural code that your
brain processes
-Storage: involves retaining information over time
-Retrieval: the process of accessing information in long term memory
oHowever, we routinely forget and distort information; we may also remember
events that never occurred
2. What is sensory memory? How did Sperling assess the duration of iconic memory?
- Memory has three major components; they are sensory memory, short term (working)
memory, and long term memory
-Sensory memory: holds incoming sensory information just long enough for it to be
recognized; composed of sensory registers which are the initial information processors
oIconic store: visual sensory register (lasts about fraction of a second)
oEchoic memory: auditory sensory register (lasts about two seconds)
- Echoic memory lasts longer than iconic memory
- Sperling conducted an experiment which involved showing participants a series of letters for
a very brief moment; they could only remember 4 to 5 letters
3. Describe the limitations of short-term memory, and how they can be overcome.
- Since our attention abilities are limited, most information in sensory memory simply fades
away; however, through selective attention, some information enter short term memory
-Short term (working) memory: holds information that we are conscious of at any given
time; it consciously processes, codes, and works on information
oMental representations are required to retain information in short term and long
term memory (they can be visual, phonological, semantic, or motor)
- Short term memory, however, can only hold a limited amount of information at a time
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- The limit of short term memory capacity concerns the number of meaningful units that can
be recalled
-Chunking: combining individual items into larger units of meaning; can aid recall
- Short term memory is also limited in duration (without rehearsal, information lasts about 20
-Maintenance rehearsal: simple repetition of information
-Elaborative rehearsal: focusing on the meaning of information or relating it to other things
we already know (more effective in transferring information into long term memory)
4. Why do researchers refer to short term memory as working memory?
- Original view of memory was too passive and sequential (cognitive scientists viewed short
term memory as a loading platform or holding station for information along the route from
sensory to long term memory)
- Working memory is essentially a mental workspace that actively and simultaneously
processes different types of information and supports other cognitive functions, such as
problem solving and planning
- Think of it as a busy librarian who is energetically categorizing, cataloging, and cross
referencing new material
5. Identify three components of working memory
-Auditory working memory: when you repeat a phone number, name, or new vocabulary
-Visual-spatial working memory: temporarily store and manipulate images and spatial
information as when forming maps of the route to some destination
-Central executive: directs the action (decides how much attention to allocate to mental
imagery and auditory rehearsal, calls up information from long term memory and integrates
the input); prefrontal cortex is involved in such actions
6. What is the serial position effect? Under what conditions do primacy and recency effects occur?
-Serial position effect: recall is influenced by a word’s position in a series of items
-Long term memory: vast library of more durable stored memories; long term storage
capacity essentially is unlimited (unlike short term memory)
-Primacy effect: reflecting the superior recall of early words; the first few words enter short
term memory, we can quickly rehearse them and transfer them into a long term memory
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-Recency effect: superior recall of most recent words; the last few words have the benefit of
not being bumped out of short term memory by any new information
oThus, recency effect can be wiped out by eliminating the last words from the short
term memory (first words cannot be wiped out due to long term memory)
7. Provide some examples of effortful and automatic processing in your own life
- The more effectively we encode material into long term memory, the greater the likelihood
of retrieving it
-Effortful processing: encoding that is initiated intentionally and requires conscious attention
o Making lists, rehearsing, and taking class notes
-Automatic processing: encoding that occurs without intention and requires minimal
attention; reading (so automated that we have difficulty switching to a more effortful style)
8. Explain the concept of depth of processing
- According to the levels of processing by Fergus Craik, the more deeply we process
information, the better it will be remembered
- POTATO (is the word in capital letters?)
- Horse (does the word rhyme with course?)
- TABLE (does the word fit in the sentence, the man peeled the…?)
- First question requires structural encoding (how the word looks)
- Second question requires phonological encoding (sounding out the word)
- Last question requires semantic encoding (what the word means)
- In this case semantic encoding requires the deepest processing (thus, one remembers the
word better)
oRetention is both a function of how deeply an item is processed and at what level of
processing it is tested
9. How effectively do maintenance and elaborative rehearsal process information into long term
- Even thousands of shallow exposures to a stimulus do not guarantee long term retention
- Rehearsal goes beyond mere exposure because we are thinking about the information
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