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Chapter 1-5

PSYC 3265 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-5: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Spatial Memory, Memory Span

Course Code
PSYC 3265
Shayna Rosenbaum

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Chapter 1: What is Memory
One Memory or Many?
- memory is not a single simple system
- in amnesia patients, immediate memory and skill leaning may be preserved.
Theories, maps and models
- Hull: build theories from physics, tried to build a general theory of learning where
it was predicted using a series of eq’ns  Tolman: cognitive maps (internal
representations of the environment that result from active exploration)
- theories are like maps: sum up knowledge in a simple/structured way to help us
understand what is known, help us ask new q’s. nature of theory depends on the q’s
it wants to answer (designed for a different purpose); different levels of explanation
and focus.
- reductionism: assume aim of science is to reduce each explanation to the level
- psychology of memory uses explanations at many levels
How can we study memory?
- when relying just on philosophy of the mind; is that it relies on introspection
(reflect and report on-going thoughts). People differ in the way they appear to
experience a given situation, and we are only aware of a small part of the
mechanisms of mental life. Subjective reports don’t provide a solid basis to
understand memory
- address these issues in combination with the scientific approach and empirical
- psychophysics: map the relationship between physical stimuli onto perceived
magnitude (psychological experience).
- Ebbinghaus: learning/memory suitable for experimental study.
- he tried to simplify the experimental situation, used non-sense syllables. He was
his own subject  basic principles of learning and forgetting curve
- q’s on the factors/conditions surrounding how new learning interacts with what
was already known. Interpret results by associations between stimuli and responses
- verbal learning approach: rely on learning lists of words and non-sense syllables 
careful maps of phenomena  more reliance on empiricism
- Gestalt Psychology: apply perceptual principles to understand human memory,
emphasize internal representations, and active participant in organizing material.
- schemas: world knowledge is structured and influences how new info is stored and
recalled; effort after meaning is crucial
- idea to represent theories as models: expressed more precisely, allow predictions
to be made and tested. Using computers to develop the metaphor
- info-processing approach gained more prominence
- human memory regarded as 1+ storage systems that interact
- any memory system needs: encoding (enter info to system), store, retrieve *all
interact and effect each other
How many kinds of memory?
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- info comes in from the environment and is processed by sensory memory systems
(interface between perception and memory)  temporary ST memory system 
LTM  modal model
- memory store is too static, need to also include processes
- info can flow from the environment to the various memory systems and back
through the memory system
Sensory Memory
- brief storage of info within a specific modality
- iconic memory: brief visual memory system, echoic: auditory
- to test: present an array and ask them to recall as many as possible OR present an
array and ask them to say one line based on tone presented after
- masking: perception/storage of a stimulus is influenced by events occurring right
before presentation (forward) or after (backward)
- brightness masking: more masking with more brightness or mask presented with
less delay (only when both presented to the same eye, early visual processing)
- pattern masking: when targets followed by a mask with similar features to the
target (later stage of visual processing)
- iconic memory helps us to perceive the world: info read off retina and only some
goes to STM to build a coherent representation
- with auditory presentation, 1st/last items more likely to be recalled (effect
removed if present another item between presentation and recall)
Short-Term and Working Memory
- STM: temporary storage of small amounts of material over brief delays (LTM has
some role)
- often use verbal rehearsal to maintain performance
- working memory: system for the temporary maintenance and manipulation of info,
help us to perform tasks. A mental workspace; linked to attention and can use other
memory resources
- Baddeley/Hitch: functional role to perform important cognitive activities
Long-Term Memory
- underlies capacity to store info over LT
- explicit/declarative: intentional retrieval (episodic: personal, semantic: facts) AND
implicit/non-declarative: retrieve through performance (conditioning, skills,
priming etc…)
Explicit Memory
- semantic: knowledge of the world, general, can be acquired at once or over time,
don’t know how/when acquired the info
- episodic: remember specific single episode/event. Re-experience some parts of the
original episode (mental time travel), use info to plan future action
- semantic memory can be residue of many episodes
- the 2 systems interact
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Implicit Memory
- classical conditioning: a neutral stimulus paired with a response-evoking stimulus
will come to evoke that response on its own ex/ amnesia patients learn at a normal
rate but don’t remember doing so
- priming: could take advantage of prior experience without remembering they had
any. Presenting an item influences the processing of a subsequent item, easier to
process (+ve) or harder (-ve)
Memory: Beyond the Lab
- we must aim for theories to extend beyond the lab into the real-world
- harder to run tightly-controlled experiments outside of the lab
- both are valuable, easier to develop/test theories in a lab but if they tell us little
about memory in the real-world then they aren’t valuable
- memory theory important for particular groups (ex/ kids, those with memory
- some aspects of memory not covered by current theories  ex/ semantic memory
and eye-witness testimony, prospective memory
The Contribution of Neuroscience
- contribution of the brain to our capacity to learn/remember
- study of memory disorders gives insight to normal memory
Chapter 2: Memory and the Brain
- more possible to link psychological concepts and findings to understand the
biological bases of memory
- knowing a certain brain area is involved with a memory function doesn’t give a
definite explanation but helps increase understanding
- levels to study memory: syndrome, cognition (LTM, WM, attention), neural
systems (hippocampus, frontal lobes), signalling paths (dopamine, monoamine
oxidase), genes (DRD4, MAOA)
Neuropsychological Approaches
- brain damage often leads to memory problems (associated with cause and location
of the damage)
Group Studies
- select patients whose damage is associated with a specific disease or cause.
Provides overview of condition necessary to treat patients and provides a prognosis
for recovery. Usually more severe accident  longer and worse problems
- ex/ Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): caused by blow to the head or a penetrating
head injury. Normal brain function disrupted; mild (brief change) to severe
(extended periods of damage). Leads to memory and other cognitive deficits
- the most informative cases included damage to isolated brain areas that disrupt a
single function
- dissociation: specified deficit separate from deficits in other cognitive functions
- double dissociation: 2 patient groups show opposite patterns of deficit
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