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Chapter 7

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PSYC 1010
Jennifer Steeves

Chapter 7 – Human Memory How Does Memory Work? • Sensory Input causes a Sensory Memory • Preserves info in its original form for a very brief time • Information is lost in 0.5 (i.e. Iconic Memory) to 3 seconds (i.e. Echoic Memory) • All depends on what type of Sensory memory • George Sperling’s Iconic Memory Experiment in the ‘60s  Flashed a matrix for people to look at  By manipulating the length that the slide was up, one can see how long iconic memory lasts • Sensory information forms automatically without attention or interpretation • If you are paying attention to the memory it becomes Short-Term Memory • Can maintain about 7 chunks of unrehearsed info for up to 20 seconds • Unrehearsed information is lost in seconds or minutes • Maintenance Rehearsal – Mental or verbal repetition of information  Allows info to remain in working memory longer than the usual 30 seconds  If you can’t use it? – Memory decays quickly • Code – Often based on sounds or speech even with visual inputs • Baddeley’s Model of Working Memory: 1. Phonological Loop 2. Visiospatial Sketchpad 3. Central Executive 4. Episodic Buffer • Attention is needed to transfer information to working memory • Primacy Effect – The tendency for the first items presented in a series to be remembered better or more easily, or for them to be more influential than those presented later in the series. • Recency Effect - The principle that the most recently presented items or experiences will most likely be remembered best. • Some theorists view short-term memory as a tiny, constantly changing portion of LTM in a state of heightened activation Studying the Time Course of Short-Term Memory • One way to find out how long it takes short-term memories to become more permanent is to interfere with them at different times after they are created • One technique is to use electroconvulsive shock (ECS)  Sometimes called ECT (electroconvulsive therapy)  Used today to treat depression  Produces convulsions and effects mood while also interfering with the patient’s memory  Particularly for events that occurred immediately before the ECT (presumably because ECT interferes with any neural circuits that might have been formed) • Duncan’s Two-Chambered Avoidance Task  Rat placed in dark chamber and given foot shock  Rat removed and given ECS at varying times afterward  The sooner the rat received the ECS the longer it stayed in the dark chamber the next time it was put in  Duncan argued that since the rats’ short-term memory had been disturbed by the ECS  They couldn’t remember having been given the foot shock there  Problem – The Fear of the ECS and its possible effect on the memory were confounded • McGaugh’s Step-down Task  When rat steps down it receives a foot-shock and an ECS  Staying on the platform in the next trial reflects learning  Stepping down reflects no learning  Pro – Fear of ECS and the effect of ECS on memory are no longer confounded • Short-term memories last at most about 25 min or so – usually only 10 to 15 seconds  By that time the memory has entered some kind of Long-Term storage and ECS (or a concussion) can no longer disturb it • Cooled Rats and Long Term Memory  The fact that the rats could remember the well-practiced tasks mean that those tasks could not have depended on reverberating circuits  Instead they involved anatomical changes (E.g. in the synapse) that are not affected by cooling 3. Encoding of the memory causes it to become Long-Term Memory • Long-term memory – Unlimited capacity store that can hold info indefinitely • Chunking - a way of organizing information into familiar groupings  Helps you remember things better  Shows the importance of Encoding in working memory • Function – Conscious processing of information  Where information is actively worked on Levels of Processing • Shallow – Visual • Shallow – Acoustic • Deep – Semantic How reliable is Memory? • Can our memories be distorted? Remembering things that never really happened?  Eyewitness testimony  “Repressed memories” (typically sexual abuse)  Childhood Memories False Memories • Leading questions can cause and prime a person to give a particular type of answer  Choice of words used when asking questions can prime a person’s memory Flashbulb Memories • The sudden onset of a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event • Once believed to be more accurate because stress hormones made encoding stronger • Data suggests flashbulb memories are unreliable too Anatomy of Memory Short-Term Memory • New memories are kept in a short-term memory store and can be disrupted by concussion and other traumatic events • Reverberating Circuits - A cell assembly that continues to respond after the original stimulus that excited it has ceased, providing a neural basis for short-term memory  A closed circuit in which the signal continually travels around a circular path over and over until one of the components (usually neurons) stops functioning and the signal is not transmitted to the next component Long-Term Memory • Older memories are kept on a long-term memory store which is not likely to be disrupted by concussion • Changes in the structure of the brain – i.e. Synaptic Connections  Enriched Brain Cells have many more dendrites then impoverished ones • Memories are stored in the cerebral cortex but the hippocampus is necessary to get the memories laid down • Hebbian learning – Neurons that fi
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