Chapter 7: Human Memory
Encoding: involves forming a memory code
--- how it looks, how it sounds, what it means – a “code for a word”, etc
Storage: involves maintaining encoded information in memory over time (in memory stores)
Retrieval: involves recovering information from memory stores
--- need to be able to get the information out of storage
--- how people search for their memories and which strategies are the most effective
* memories are rough reconstructions *
ENCODING: Getting Information into Memory
Next-in-Line Effect: if participants in a small group take turns talking, subsequent memory tests
reveal that the subjects tend to not recall much of what was said before they took their turn.
--- preoccupied rehersing than paying attention to what others are saying
Encoding must be “ACTIVE”
Attention: involves focusing awareness on a narrowed range of stimuli or events.
a “filter” – people tend to filter out information that is not relevant to what they are doing. If
this could not be done, we would react to every stimuli around us and not be able to focus
on one task
we select which stimuli can pass through our attention filter
Research suggests that filtering takes place at all levels: before, during, and after the
stimuli is acting upon us
Cocktail Party Phenomenon (hearing your name in another conversation) – late encoding
Tied up in a very complex task (high “cognitive load”) filtering may occur earlier
Multitasking – dividing attention between two different things, not processing the
information simultaneously (brain is not capable of doing this)
“Effortful Processing” – picking up information because you are intentionally attempting
to do so
“Automatic Processing” – information picked up without the intention of doing so.
Occurs often in word frequency
Levels of Processing
differences in how people encode words can effect the area of the brain that is activated
and also how much they remember (eg. verbal vs. audio processing activate different brain
some methods of encoding are more durable
Levels-of-Processing Theory: deeper levels of processing result in longer-lasting memory codes.
1) Structural Encoding – relatively shallow processing that emphasized the physical structure
of the stimulus.
--- what printing type, size, font, capitals, length of word 2) Phonemic Encoding – emphasizes what a word sounds like
--- saying the word silently, etc
3) Semantic Encoding – emphasizes the meaning of verbal input
--- thinking about what the objects and actions represent
retention of words/memories increased from structural – phonemic – semantic
Elaboration: linking a stimulus to other information at the time of encoding.
“associating” something with the encoded word by thinking of examples
examples thought of by oneself are the most effective
enriches SEMANTIC encoding
Visual Imagery: creation of visual images to represent words to be remembered
a concrete objects (eg. clown) is easier to visualize than an abstract concept such as
high imagery words are easier to remember than low imagery words
“Dual Coding Theory”: memory is enhances by forming semantic and visual codes, since
either can lead to recall
Self-Referent Encoding: involves deciding how or whether information is personally relevant.
enhances recall by promoting additional elaboration and better organization of information
STORAGE: Maintaining Information in Memory
Atkinson/Shiffrin’s “Information Processing Theory”
3 stages, all a distinct type of memory
1) Sensory Memory: preserves information in its original sensory form for a brief time, usually only
a fraction of a second.
preserves the image, and gives additional time to recognize the stimuli
rapidly decays from this memory bank
2) Short-Term Memory (STM): a limited-capacity store that can maintain unrehearsed information
for up to about 20 seconds.
Rehearsal: the process of repetitively verbalizing or thinking about information. Can store things in
Maintenance Rehearsal – simply maintaining the information in consciousness (repeating a phone
Elaborative Rehearsal – increasing the probability that you will retain this information in the future
because you are focusing on the meaning of words in your head.
Durability --- lost in less than 20 seconds (time related decay)
--- interference from other stimuli and competing material
limited in the number of items that our STM can hold
seven unfamiliar items is about the maximum that can be held in STM
“Chunk”: a group of familiar stimuli stored as a single unit
--- grouping 3 numbers together as one unit can increase the capacity
--- once these are chunked as meaningful group, they are stored in LTM and recalling
them is like drawing from LTM to get information to STM
Baddeley’s Model of Working Memory (4 Components)
Phonoligical Loop – recitation of a number (phone number) that you need to temporarily remember
Visuospatial Sketchpad – temporarily hold and manipulate images (eg. rearranging a room,
picturing what it would look like)
Central Executive System – deployment of attention, switching attention and focus as needed
Episodic Buffer – limited capacity store that allows components of working memory to integrate
information, and acts as a buffer between working memory and LTM
3) Long-Term Memory: is an unlimited capacity store that can hold information over length
periods of time (indefinitely).
Flashbulb Memories: unusually vivid and detailed recollections of momentous events.
where they were, what they were doing, how they felt, etc when something “big” happened
major distortions and factual impossibilities occur during these memories
neither as accurate or special as once believed
Organization in LTM
Clustering: the tendency to remember similar or related items in groups.
bunches that belong to the same category
eg. 60 words read out that each fell into 2 categories, was able to remember like words
Conceptual Hierarchy: a multilevel classification system based on common properties among
when information is presented in like categories, it may be broken up further
Schema: an organized cluster of knowledge about a particular object or event abstracted from
previous experience with the object or event.
people are more likely to remember things that are consistent with their schema (eg. what
you would expect to see in a professor’s office)
people are also likely to remember things that violate their schema based perceptions (if
they are completely different, they may attract a lot of attention)
people have schemas about different people, events, types of people (relational schemas)
represent regularities in schemas Semantic Networks: consists of nodes representing c