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Psychology in Modules: Module 26.docx

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PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

Module 26 Page 1 Module 26 Forgetting, Memory Reconstruction and Improving Memory Forgetting "If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing" - William James Anterograde Amnesia - an inability to form new memories, but can recall past Retrograde Amnesia - an inability to retrieve information from one's past With these conditions, many can learn nonverbal tasks. However, they do these things with no awareness of having learned them. Alzheimer's patients lose their explicit memories for people and events, but can form new implicit memories. Such cases confirm we have two distinct memory systems controlled by different parts of the brain. Encoding Failure • Age can effect encoding efficiency Storage Decay • German Philosopher Hermann Ebbinghaus concluded "the course of forgetting is initially rapid, then levels off with time." • Our explanation for these forgetting curves is a gradual fading of the physical memory trace. Retrieval Failure • We store in long-term memory what's important to us or what's been rehearsed • Older adults are more frequently frustrated by tip-of-the-tongue forgetting • Retrieval problems occasionally stem from interference and from motivated forgetting Interference Proactive Interference - the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information Ex. Buying a new combination lock, the old combo may interfere. Retroactive Interference - the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information Ex. If new lyrics are sung to an old song, you may have trouble remembering the original words. The hour before sleep is a good time to commit information to memory, though information presented in the seconds before sleep is seldom remembered. Module 26 Page 2 Motivated Forgetting • As we process information we filter, alter or lose much of it. Was the information intact but not retrievable because it was embarrassing to remember? • Freud proposed that we repress painful memories to protect our self-concept and to minimize anxiety. The repressed memory lingers and can be retrieved later by a cue or during therapy. • We may have the intrusive memories of the very traumatic experiences we would most like to forget Memory Construction Errors • Every time we replay a memory, we replace the original with a slightly modified version Misinformation and Imagination Factors Misinformation Effect - incorporating misleading information into one's memory of an event. So powerful it can later influence attitudes and behaviours. Even repeatedly imagining nonexistent actions and events can create false memories. Misinformation and imagination effects occur partly because visualizing something and actually perceiving it activate similar brain areas. Source Amnesia - Attributing to the wrong source an event we have experience, heard about, read about, or imagined. Along with mis
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