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Chapter 7

Psychology- Chapter 7 Book Notes.docx

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PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

Psychology- Chapter 7: Human Memory Encoding: involves forming a memory code. Storage: involves maintaining encoded information in memory over time. The Role of Attention Attention involves focusing awareness on a narrowed range of stimuli or events. Attention is often linked to a filter that screens out most potential stimuli while allowing a select few to pass through into conscious awareness. Cocktail party phenomenon suggests that attention involves late selection, based on the meaning of input. According to Lavie, the location of our attention filter depends on the cognitive load of our current information processing. When we are attending to complicated, high-load tasks that consume much of our attentional capacity, selection tends to occur early. However, when we are involved in simpler, low-load tasks, more attentional capacity is left over to process the meaning of distractions, allowing for later selection. While much of the information we want to remember is encoded as a result of effortful processing, some types of information may be acquired more automatically. Levels of Processing According to some theorists, differences in how people attend to information are the main factors influencing how much they remember. Different rates of forgetting occur because some methods of encoding create more durable memory codes than others. People engage in three progressively deeper levels of encoding: structural, phonemic, and semantic encoding. Structural encoding is relatively shallow processing that emphasizes the physical structure of the stimulus. Ex. If words are flashed on a screen, structural encoding registers such things as how they were printed (capital letters, lowercase, etc.) or the length of the words. Further analysis may result in phonemic encoding, which emphasizes what a word sounds like. Phonemic encoding involves naming or saying (perhaps silently) the words. Finally, semantic encoding emphasizes the meaning of verbal input; it involves thinking about the objects and actions the words represent. Levels-of-processing theory proposes that deeper levels of process result in longer-lasting memory codes. Enriching Encoding There are other dimensions to encoding, dimensions that enrich the encoding process and thereby improve memory: elaboration, visual imagery, and self-referent coding. Elaboration Semantic encoding can often be enhanced through a process called elaboration. Elaboration is linking a stimulus to other information at the time of encoding. The additional associations created by elaboration usually help people to remember information. Elaboration often consists of thinking examples that illustrate and idea. Visual Imagery Imagerythe creation of visual images to represent the words to be rememberedcan also be used to enrich encoding. According to Paivio, imagery facilitates memory because it provides a second kind of memory code, and two codes are better than one. His dual-coding theory holds that memory is enhanced by forming semantic and visual codes, since either can lead to recall. Self-Referent Encoding Self-referent encoding involves deciding how or whether information is personally relevant. Self-referent encoding appears to enhance recall by promoting additional elaboration and better organization of information. Storage: Maintaining Information in Memory Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin proved to be the most influential of the information-processing theories. According to their model, incoming information passes through two temporary storage buffersthe sensory store and short-term before it is transferred into a long-term store. Sensory Memory The sensory memory preserves information in its original sensory form for a brief time, usually only a fraction of a second. Sensory memory allows the sensation of visual pattern, sound, or touch to linger for a brief moment after the sensory stimulation is over. The brief preservation of sensations in sensory memory gives you additional time to try to recognize stimuli. Short-Term Memory Short-term memory (STM) is a limited-capacity store that can maintain unrehearsed information for up to about 20 seconds. There is a way to maintain information in your short-term store indefinitely by engaging in rehearsalthe process of repetitively verbalizing or thinking about the information. Cognitive psychologists often distinguish between maintenance rehearsal and more elaborative rehearsal or processing. In using maintenance rehearsal you are simply maintaining the information in consciousness, while in more elaborative processing, you are increasing the probability that you will retain the information in the future by, for example, focusing on the meaning of the words in the list you are trying to remember. Durability of Storage Without rehearsal, information in STM is lost in less than 20 seconds. Theorists originally believed that the loss of information from STM was due purely to time-related decay of memory traces, but follow-up research showed that interference from competing material also contributes. Capacity of Storage The small capacity of STM was pointed out by George Miller in a famous paper called The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information. Miller noticed that people could recall only about seven items in tasks that required them to remember unfamiliar material. You can increase the capacity of your STM by combining stimuli into larger, possibly higher-order units, called chunks. A chunk is a group of familiar stimuli stored as a single unit. Short-Term Memory as Working Memory Studies showed that STM is not limited to phonemic encoding as originally though and that decay is not the only process responsible for the loss of information from STM. These and other findings suggested that STM involves more than a simple rehearsal buffer, as originally envisioned. Alan Baddeley proposed a more complex, modularized model of STM that characterizes it as working memory. Baddeleys model of working memory consists of four components. The first component is the phonological loop that represented all of STM in earlier models. The component is at work when you use recitation to temporarily remember a phone number. Baddeley believes that the phonological loop evolved to facilitate the acquisition of language. The second component in working memory is a visuospatial sketchpad that permits people to temporarily hold and manipulate visual images. This element is at work when you try to mentally rearrange the furniture in your bedroom or map out a complicated route that you need to follow to travel somewhere. Researchers investigate this module of working memory by showing subjects visual sequences and spatial arrays, which they are asked to re-create. The third component is a central executive system. It controls deployment of attention, switching the focus of attention and dividing attention as needed (diving attention between a conversation with your mother and a TV show you are
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