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Chapter 10

Chapter 10 textbook notes on memory.docx

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Eileen Wood

Chapter 10: Memory Reconstructing the Past Memory: the capacity to retain and retrieve information, and also the structures that account fot this capacity  Memory confers competence  Memory endows us with a sense of personal identity; each of us is a sum of our recollections  Memory gives us our past and guides our future Dementia: illness – unable to form new memories Henry Molaison (HM):  At 27, surgeons removed most of his hippocampus to alleviate his severe and life- threatening epilepsy which was causing seizures  He continued to recall events that happened before the operation, but new memories would only be remembered for 15 minutes  He always thought he was much younger than he really was & was unable to recognize a photograph of his own face The Manufacture of Memory  People see memory as a video camera; this is wrong – not everything that happens to us or impinges on our senses is tucked away for later use; memory is selective  Sir Frederic Bartlett: read stories to participants & had them retell what they heard – they would eliminate or change details that did not make sense, and add more details to make the story more coherent, sometimes even a moral o Concluded there is some kind of reconstructive process: when we remember complex info, we typically alter it in ways that help us make sense of the material based on what we already know or think we know Source misattribution (aka source confusion): the inability to distinguish an actual memory of an event from information you learned about the event elsewhere – old photographs, family stories, home videos, other people’s accounts of the event  E.g. H.M. ate a chocolate heart and put the wrapper in his pocket, later he found it and said it must have been from a chocolate rabbit because it’s easter Flashbulb memories: the surprise, illumination and seemingly photographic detail that characterize moments that are unusually exhilaratingly happy (e.g. winning the lottery)  People usually remember the gist of a startling, emotional event they experienced, but over time, errors creep into the details and some people even forget the gist  Remembering is an active process, one that involves not only dredging up stored info, but also putting two things together to reconstruct the past Conditions of Confabulation Confabulation: confusion of an event that happened to someone else with one that happened to you, or belief that you remember something when it never actually happened. Likely under certain circumstances: 1. You have thought, heard, or told others about the imagined event many times Imagination inflation: your own active imagination inflates your belief that the event really occurred 2. The image of the event contains lots of details that make it feel real  The more you think about an imagined event, the more details you are likely to add and these details may persuade you that the event really happened & you have a direct memory of it 3. The event is easy to imagine  If imagining an event takes little effort, then we tend to think that our memory is real As a result of confabulation, you may end up with a memory that feels emotionally vividly real to you, yet is completely false  Inaccuracies in memory can occur when you first form a memory (because you’re distracted) or when you later retrieve memory (when you might confuse associated thought, wishes and imagined ideas with what really happened) – feelings do not guarantee that the event really happened Memory and the Power of Suggestion  The reconstructive nature of memory helps the mid work efficiently – remembers the essentials and then use our knowledge to figure out the specifics when needed The Eyewitness on Trial  Some convictions based on eyewitness testimony turn out to be tragic mistakes  Eyewitnesses are especially likely to make mistaken identifications when the suspect’s ethnicity differs from their own  Memories are influenced by the way in which questions are put to the eyewitnesses and by suggestive comments made during an interrogation or interview (e.g. how fast were the cars going when they smashed, collided, bumped, contacted?”  Using the presupposes that something was there, whereas a makes no such presupposition  Leading questions, suggestive comments and misleading information affects people’s memories not only for events they witnessed but also their own experiences Children’s Testimony  Power of suggestion has impact on children who are being questioned regarding possible sexual or physical abuse  “Under what conditions are children apt to be suggestible, and to report that something happened to them when in fact it did not?” o A child is more likely to give a false report when the interviewer strongly believes that the child has been molested and then uses suggestive techniques to get the child to reveal molestation o Interviewers who are biased this way assume the child is “in denial” and use techniques that encourage imagination inflation (“let’s pretend it happened”) o They pressure or encourage the child to describe terrible events, badger the child with repeated questions, use bribes, threats or tells them that everyone else said the events happened  Rumour and hearsay play a big role in promoting false beliefs and memories in children just as in adults  Children can be induced to make up experiences that are truly traumatic  To reduce chances of false reporting, interviewers ask “Tell me the reason you came to talk to me today” – actual victims will disclose the information without being prompted to In Pursuit of Memory Measuring Memory Explicit memory: conscious, intentional recollection of an event or of an item of information – tested using recall and recognition Recall: the ability to retrieve and reproduce from memory previously encountered material (e.g. fill in the blank & essay questions require recall) Recognition: the ability to identify previously encountered material (e.g. true or false & multiple choice require recognition  Recognition is superior to recall Implicit memory: unconscious retention in memory, as evidenced by the effect of a previous experience or previously encountered information on current thoughts or actions – to get to this sort of memory, researchers must rely on indirect methods instead of direct ones Priming: a method for measuring implicit memory in which a person reads or listens to information and is later tested to see whether the info affects performance on another type of task Relearning memory (AKA savings method): a method for measuring retention that compares the time required to relearn material with the time used in the initial learning of the material Models of Memory Information-processing models: storage takes place in three interacting memory systems 1. Sensory register 2. Short-term memory 3. Long-term memory  Most computers process instructions & data sequentially & the 3-box model has emphasized sequential operations – in contrast, the brain performs many operations simultaneously, in parallel  This is why some cognitive scientists prefer a parallel distributed processing or connectionist model: a model of memory in which knowledge is represented as connections among thousands of interacting processing nits, distributed in a vast network, and all operating in parallel The Three-Box Model of Memory The Sensory Register: Fleeting Impressions The sensory register: a memory system that momentarily preserves extremely accurate images of sensory information; it is the entryway of memory  Large capacity  Visual images remain in a visual subsystem for a max of ½ second  Auditory images remain in an auditory subsystem for a slightly longer time (2 seconds)  Acts as a holding bin, retaining info in a highly accurate form until we can select items for attention from the stream of stimuli bombarding out senses  Gives us brief time to decide whether info is extraneous or important  If not transferred to short-term memory, it vanishes forever – this prevents multiple sensory images that might interfere with accurate perception & encoding information Short-Term Memory: Memory’s Scratch Pad Short-term memory: a limited-capacity memory system involved in the retention of information for brief periods; it is also used to hold information retrieved from long-term memory for temporary use  Limited capacity  Holds info for about 30 seconds (up to a few minutes)  Material is no longer an exact sensory image, but is an encoding of one – it either transfers to long-term memory or decays and is lost forever  H.M. had trouble transferring short-term memory to long-term storage THE LEAKY BUCKET  Capacity 7 + or – 2  Chunks: a meaningful unit of information; it may be composed of smaller units  Items that are particularly meaningful or have emotional impact are transferred wuickly to long-term memory WORKING MEMORY  Working memory: a cognitive complex form of short-term memory that involves active mental processes that control retrieval of information from long-term memory and interpret tat information appropriately for a given task  Involved in thought and intelligence  Holds and operates on information that has been retrieved from long-term memory  Acts as a “scratch-pad”  Draws on processes that control attention & enable us to avoid distraction so that information will remain accessible and easily retrieved  Good working memory = good at reading comprehension, following directions, taking notes, playing bridge, learning new words  H.M.’s working memory was not disrupted (only the other direction was) Long-Term Memory: Final Destination Long-term memory: the memory system involved in the long-term storage of information ORGANIZATION IN LONG-TERM MEMORY  Semantic categories: by the larger concept (e.g. oranges and apples to fruits)  In terms of the way words look or sound o Tip-of-the-tongue states – emotionally arousing questions increase the frequency of TOT states  Info can also e organized by its familiarity, relevance, or association with other information THE CONTENTS OF LONG-TERM MEMORY Procedural memories: memories for the performance of actions or skills (knowing how) – (e.g. brushing hair, using a pencil, solve a puzzle) – many consider them implicit Declarative memories: memories of facts, rules, concepts, and events; includes semantic and episodic memories Semantic memories: internal representations of the world, independent of any particular context (e.g. facts, rules, concepts – items of general knowledge) Episodic memories: memories of personally exper
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