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Chapter 4

Psychology 2010A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Memory Span, Interference Theory, Psych

Course Code
Terry Biggs

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Psych 2010A
Chapter 4 - Short-Term Working Memory
Short-Term Memory (STM) is both limited in capacity and duration
information is lost within 20-30 seconds in the STM if it is not rehearsed
the STM is our working memory that maintains and manipulates information
this requires the storage of verbal and visual codes in the STM for it to be our
working memory
Rate of forgetting
info in the STM is lost quickly unless rehearsed
Decay vs. Inteference
interference theory: proposes that memory for other material or the performance of
another task interferes with memory and causes forgetting.
if memory is disrupted by interference, then recall should be determined by the
number of interfering items
decay theory: proposes that forgetting should still occur even though the subject is
told not to do anything over the interval, as long as the subject does not rehearse
the information
if memory decays over time, then the recall should be determined by the length
of the retention interval
rate of presentation of material did not have any effect on the decay of memory
Waugh and Normanʼs findings say that interference, rather than decay, is the
primary cause of forgetting
if information spontaneously decayed from memory, we would have no way of
retrieving it.
Release from proactive interference
proactive interference: forgetting that occurs because of interference from material
encountered before learning
retroactive interference: forgetting that occurs because of interference from
material encountered after learning.
reduction from either one of these interferences is called release from proactive
interference and recall of later items can be improved by making them distinctive
from early items
also occurs when people are asked to remember more complex events
The Magic Number 7
the STM can hold only about 7 items (ranging from 5-9 items)
memory span: the longest sequence that a person can recall
absolute judgment task: identifying stimuli that vary along a single, sensory
items in the STM will be lost unless rehearsed and put into the LTM
STM and its capacity
7 (plus or minus 2) numbers
4-5 English words
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