PSYC 3290 Chapter Notes -Stroop Effect, Semantic Memory, Memory Span

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9 Feb 2013
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3. Psychological Mechanisms
Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:30 AM
For Exam: Chapter 3 pp. 46-59 only
Main points
The act of comprehending and producing language are performed within the
constraints of our information-processing system. This system consists of working
memory and long-term memory. Long-term memory comprises episodic and
semantic memory.
A number of issues regarding language processing have been raised. These include
whether we primarily use serial or parallel processes, whether we tend to use top-
down or bottom-up processes, whether language processes are primarily
automatic or controlled, and the extent to which language processing displays
modularity.
Children appear to process information very differently than adults, but studies of
the development of the processing system suggest that most of the system is
developmentally invariant.
Introduction
Some important issues is psycholinguistics are not fully addressed in linguistic
accounts of language, such as the issue of language processing
Language processing is a joint product of linguistic principles and psychological
mechanisms
The information-processing system
Contemporary study of memory and information processing began in the late
1950s
Working memory
Working memory-- a form of memory with both storage and processing functions.
Working memory is used to hold information for a short period of time as well as
to perform various operations on the stored information
o "The temporary storage of information that is being processed in any range of
cognitive tasks"
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Many cognitive processes require that we hold onto information for a short period
of time
Working memory is measured in several ways
o Memory span test-- participants are given a series of items (words, letters,
numbers, and so forth) and asked to recall the items in the order presented
(or in backwards order)
A person's memory span is the number of items that can be reliably
recalled in the correct order
The Baddeley-Hitch Model (1974)
o Three components:
1) Central executive
A limited capacity pool of general processing resources
The assumption is that we are limited in terms of the number of
things we can do at once
Determines what activities the slave systems should be doing at any
given time
2) Visuospatial sketchpad
Temporarily maintains and manipulates visuospatial information
3) Phonological loop
Phonological store-- holds phonological representations for a brief
period of time
Articulatory rehearsal system-- enables us to rehearse materials,
thus prolonging their stay in the phonological store
o The latter two systems are sometimes referred to as "slave systems" to the
central executive
o This model assumes that there are phonological representations of both
auditory and visual materials
Tests of the model
o Predictions of the Baddeley-Hitch Model:
When people make errors in working memory tasks, the errors tend to
be in the direction of similar sounds
This prediction is supported by research
If a person was asked to remember letters while, at the same time,
speaking some sounds over and over, this would be very difficult
because such tasks occupy the articulatory loop
Word-length effect-- the number of words remembered in a memory
span study are related to the length of the words (the real correlation is
to the amount of time that it takes to pronounce the word)
o Research indicates that storage and processing functions compete for limited
resources, supporting the Baddeley-Hitch Model
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