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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 What is Memory.docx

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Western University
Psychology 3138F/G
Stefan Kohler

Chapter 1 What is Memory? January-15-13 9:34 AM WHAT IS MEMORY? Memory is remarkably good, although fallible Schacter (2001) 'seven sins of memory' - necessary consequences of the virtues that make our memories so rich and flexible Clive Wearing o Extremely talented musician o Suffered from the herpes simplex virus which caused a brain infection o When Clive recovered consciousness, he suffered from dense amnesia (unable to store information for periods longer than seconds) o One aspect that seemed unimpaired was his musical ability Evidence, such as the Clive case, suggest that memory is not a single global system but, rather is much more complex Theories are essentially like maps - they summarize knowledge is an simple and structured way Different theories will operate at different levels of explanation and focus on different issues Reductionism: assumes that the aim of science is to reduce each explanation to the level below Theories: 1. 1960s - gained popularity is an approach with its roots in Herman Ebbinghaus (19th century German philosopher) o Focusing on factors and conditions of how new learning interacted with what was already known o Often involved remembering lists of words/non-words (verbal learning) - emphasized the careful mapping of phenomena rather than ambitious building of grand theory o Led to the development of The Journal of Memory and Language 2. 1930s - Gestalt psychology began to apply ideas developed in the study of perception to understanding human memory o Emphasize the importance of internal representations rather than observable stimuli; stress the active role of the 'rememberer' o George Mandler and Endel Tulving typified this approach 3. Based on Frederic Bartlett's (1932) book Remembering o Used complex material (eg. Folk tales) to study memory - stressing the importance of the rememberer's "effort after meaning" o Emphasized memory errors that people made which depended on the individual's schemas As was the case with Tolman and Hull, Bartlett had the problem of how to study these elusive inner representations of the world 4. WWII development of the computers o Able to demonstrate a degree of control that resembled purposive behaviour o Craik (1943) The Nature of Explanation - proposed the idea of representing theories as models; carried out the first psychological experiments based on this idea using analog computers o Information-processing approach to psychology became increasingly popular  Donald Broadbent's (1958) Perception and Communication and Uric Neisser (1967) Cognitive Psychology o Analogy of memory as computer - requires capacity to encode, store, and retrieve Modal Model (Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968)) o Representative of many models of operation of human memory at the time o Distinctions between sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory o Sensory memory:  Spearling (1960) experiment:  Present participants with array of 12 letter (3 x 4) and ask for recall; people could remember 4-5  Increase problem of forgetting by reducing number of items being reported but, not telling particip
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