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Chapter 5

Psychology 2135A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Cerebral Cortex, Mnemonic, Stimulus Modality

Course Code
Robert Brown

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Chapter 5 - Memory Structures
- encoding: acquiring information; translated into a form that other cognitive processes can use
- storage: encoded information held in storage for later retrieval
- retrieval: calling to mind of previously stored information
- forgetting: cannot retrieve information
- memory enters into almost every cognitive activity
- Baddeley (1990): case of Clive Wearing; musician and broadcaster; could not remember things
for more than a few minutes; thought to recover consciousness
Types of Memory
- Neath and Surprenant (2003): said Plato compared memory to aviary and wax tablet
- memory compared to cave, empty cabinet, body in need of exercise, telephone (1950),
- theoretical approach is studying memory according to length of time information is stored
- modal model of memory: emphasizes existence of different memory stores (Atkinson and
Shiffrin; Waugh and Norman)
- sensory memory: store incoming sensory information for very brief amounts of time
- short-term memory (STM): attended information held for 20 or 30 seconds
- long-term memory (LTM): information stored for longer periods of time
Sensory Memory
- close to what is called perception
- possible separate sensory memories for each sensory modality
- icon: visual sensory memory; echo: auditory sensory memory
The Icon
- George Sperling showed displays of 12 letters and asked people to recall as many as possible;
increasing display time from 50ms to 500ms did not improve performance
- problem is not perpetual; 500ms enough time to see all letters (Klatzky, 1980)
- Sperling (1960) showed that visual store could hold about 9 items if asked to recall
immediately after display; 1 second delay dropped to 4 items
- icon: Neisser (1967); sensory memory for visual stimuli
- masking: Averbach and Coriell (1961) showed icon could be erased by other stimuli presented
immediately after icon
- colour or brightness of letters can be used to cue partial reports
- information available in icon is only visual; not auditory or related to type of stimulus
The Echo
- echo: Neisser (1967); sensory memory for auditory stimuli
- Moray, Bates, and Barnett (1965) showed echo stores information only briefly; people can
report more information when cued which channel to report
- Crowder (1976) suggested echoic memory has larger capacity than iconic
- Watkins and Watkins (1980) showed echoes could last as long as 20 seconds
- Crowder (1972) showed suffix effect; when auditory list presented, auditory recall cue such as
spoken word or specific item hinders recall of last few items

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- recall cue called suffix; functions as a mask; if it is simply a beep or tone, usually no effect;
more similarity between suffix and items on list, greater the suffix effect
- Neath and Surprenant (2003) showed saying "have a nice day" disrupts recall of phone number
due to suffix effect
- sensory memories are modality specific; visual sensory memory contains only visual
- memory capacities appear relatively larger for visual than auditory, but auditory seems to be
able to store information for a longer time
- information stored is relatively unprocessed; only physical aspects than meaning
- Baddeley (1990) said sensory memory guarantees minimum of time during which information
presented to us is available for processing
Short-Term Memory
- Ben Murdock (1962) showed typical results for a word recall for a serial position
- serial position effect: items at beginning or end of list are more easily recalled
- primacy effect: improved recall of words at beginning of list
- recency effect: improved recall of words at end of list
- rehearsal: mnemonic strategy of repeating information to facilitate retention
- Murdock (1962) said if list read rapidly to prevent rehearsal time, primacy effect gone but
recency effect stays intact
- recency effect thought to result from either sensory memory or short-term memory
- often report last few words first and quickly
- Postman and Phillips (1965) showed if participant performs unrelated counting task after list
but before report, recency effect gone but primacy effect stays
- since primacy and recency effects can be independently affected suggests two kinds of memory
- attended information from sensory memory to STM and to be held for longer than a minute or
two, pass to LTM
- STM lasts only a short while
STM - Capacity
- George Miller (1956) showed STM holds a maximum number of 7 +/- 2 independent units
(depends on individual, material, and other situational factors)
- capacity: sum total of cognitive resources available at any given time
- chunking: formation of individual units of information into larger units
- overcome STM capacity by chunking (called recoding by Miller)
STM - Coding
- coding: way which information is mentally represented; form it is held
- R. Conrad (1964) showed people formed mental representations of letters that involved
acoustic properties even though the letters were presented visually
- Baddeley (1966a, 1966b) confirmed Conrad even when stimuli were words
- researches regard acoustic code as dominant code used in STM (Neath and Surprenant, 2003)
STM - Retention Duration and Forgetting
- John Brown (1958) and Peterson and Peterson (1959) showed if not rehearsed, information lost
from STM as little as 20 seconds
- retention duration: amount of time a memory trace remains available for retrieval
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