Psychology 2135A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Episodic Memory, Autobiographical Memory, Anterograde Amnesia

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Chapter 6 - Memory Processes
The Levels-of-Processing View
- Melton (1963) argues only one kind of memory storage
- levels-of-processing theory of memory: Craik and Lockhart (1972); memory depends not on a
particular memory store but on the initial processing done to the information at time of
acquisition
- focuses on different kinds of cognitive processing that we perform when we encode,
and later retrieve, information
- retention and coding of information depend on the kind of perceptual analysis done at encoding
- processing done at a superficial or shallow level does not lead to very good retention
- deeper processing improves retention
- improvement does not come from rehearsal and repetition but from greater depth of analysis
- incidental learning: retention of information even when it is not required of, or even intended
by, the processor
- Craik and Tulving (1975); people remembered best for words processed semantically
- Bower and Karlin (1974) found similar results with nonverbal stimuli; people who rated faces
for honesty had better memory than those who rated faces for gender
- Baddeley (1978) criticized that defining a level and what made for depth was hard
- Craik and Tulving (1975) also found poorer recall for simple sentences than complex ones;
processing semantically cannot account for the difference
- extended idea, arguing elaboration of material could also aid recall
- Stein and Bransford (1979); sentences that specified more precisely the relation of target word
to context were found especially likely to increase probability of recalling target word
- Craik and Lockhard (1972) viewed memory as a continuum of processes, from sensory
analyses to semantic operations [new paradigm; accounts for dichotic listening tasks]
- Baddeley (1978) criticized approach
- wanted more precise and independent definition of depth of processing
- showed that under certain conditions, recall was better for acoustic than semantic
processing
- showed how modal view of memory could explain the findings
- this approach reinforced idea that the more connections an item has to other pieces of
information (retrieval cues), the easier to remember
The Reconstructive Nature of Memory
- Frederick Bartlett (1932) believed that in the real world, as opposed to the lab, memory largely
uses world knowledge and schemata
- schemata: frameworks for organizing information
- argued at retrieval time, this knowledge and organizational information is used to reconstruct
the material
- presented people with short stories and asked to recall the story over a period of time
- showed that over time the recall becomes more distorted
- argued for a constructive view of LTM; people unintentionally introduce distortions
during recall to make material more rational and coherent from their own point of view, or
schemata
- schema is thought to be a large unit of organized information used for representing concepts,
situations, events, and actions in memory (Rumelhart and Norman, 1988)
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- the original story often distorted in ways more consistent with one's cultural conventions
- Bartlett saw memory as an active and often inaccurate process that encodes and retrieves
information to make sense instead of a warehouse where material is stored unchanged
Autobiographical Memory
- autobiographical memory: memory for events and other information from one's own life
- Marigold Linton (1975, 1982); tested own recall of her own life's memories
- had to decide which event came first as well as date
- relied on recognition instead of recall
- results suggested that real-world memories are much more durable than those of most
laboratory experiments
- used problem-solving strategies to arrive at a date; looked for markers/clues that helped
reconstruct the memory
- problems: used herself as subject; recordings were for memorable things, and not just
everything
- Brewer (1988) had participants record memories every few hours and later tested their recall at
different intervals
- participants recognized more than 60% of events
- memory better for actions than thoughts; better for memorable events than for events
randomly prompted
- events in a unique/infrequent location better remembered
- rare actions were more likely to be recalled
- memories from a mini-vacation (Thanksgiving) were especially remembered
- concluded that the more distinct the mental representation of an event, the more likely it
is to be recalled
Flashbulb Memories
- flashbulb memory: Brown and Kulick (1977); where people recall their personal
circumstances at the time they heard of or witnessed an unexpected and very significant event
- some argue that part of explanation involves physiological responses
- e.g., amygdala becomes activated and cognitive effects result in storage of a great deal
of information, even info indirectly related to main information
- memory-enhancing effect of emotion (Cahill and McGaugh, 1995; Chistianson, 1992; Hamann,
2001) and autobiographical memory (Conway et al., 1994) shown
- Neisser (1982) had another explanation: people are finding a way to link themselves to history
- strong emotions prompt people to retell their own stories of where they were
- over time, memories become distorted; elaborate and fill in gaps
Eyewitness Memory
- eyewitness memory: narrative memory of a personally witnessed event
- Elizabeth Loftus (1979) argue testimony has disproportionate effect
- confidence in eyewitness testimony may be too strong
- evidence shows nothing more convincing than a life human, even when confident
witness is inaccurate
- Wells and Hasel (2007) showed creating composite facial images from memory is wrought
with problems
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Document Summary

Melton (1963) argues only one kind of memory storage. Levels-of-processing theory of memory: craik and lockhart (1972); memory depends not on a particular memory store but on the initial processing done to the information at time of acquisition. Focuses on different kinds of cognitive processing that we perform when we encode, and later retrieve, information. Retention and coding of information depend on the kind of perceptual analysis done at encoding. Processing done at a superficial or shallow level does not lead to very good retention. Improvement does not come from rehearsal and repetition but from greater depth of analysis. Incidental learning: retention of information even when it is not required of, or even intended by, the processor. Craik and tulving (1975); people remembered best for words processed semantically. Bower and karlin (1974) found similar results with nonverbal stimuli; people who rated faces for honesty had better memory than those who rated faces for gender.

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