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Chapter 6

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

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Robert Brown

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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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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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