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Chapter 6

PSYC 100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Short-Term Memory, George Sperling, Interference Theory

Course Code
PSYC 100

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Ch 6 Notes
Fun fact: Hyperthymesia is a rare condition in which one has the ability to recall specific events from his
or her past. It’s almost like being a human version of google.
Memory- An active system that receives information from the senses, puts that information in usable
form, organizes it as it stores it away, and then retrieves the information from storage.
Memory Processes:
1. Encoding- The set of mental operations that people perform on sensory information to convert
it to information that is usable to the brain’s storage systems
2. Storage-Holding on to information for some period of time (this will vary depending on storage
3. Retrieval-Getting information in storage into a form that can be used
Memory Models
Information Processing Model- Model of memory that assumes the processing of information for
memory storage is similar to the way a computer processes memory in a series of three stages
Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) Model- Model of memory in which processes are proposed to take
place at the same time over a large network of neural connections
Levels-of-memory processing model- Model of memory that assumes information that is more “deeply
processed”, or processed according to its meaning rather than just the sound or the physical
characteristics of the word or words, will be remembered more efficiently and for a longer period of
Information-Processing Model
Sensory Memory- The first stage of memory; the point at which info enters the nervous system through
the sensory systems
Iconic (visual) sensory memory lasts only a fraction of a second
-This was studied extensively by George Sperling
-Sperling’s “partial report method” involves requesting a participant to relay information from
one row of letters in a grid that corresponds with an assigned sound.
-Use of this grid led to the conclusion that iconic memory is all that can be seen at one time
-Eidetic imagery is the ability to access a visual memory for 30 seconds or more
Echoic sensory memory is the brief memory of something someone has just heard
-This is what can be heard in one moment, and lasts for 2-4 seconds
Short-Term Memory
Short-Term memory is the memory system in which information is held for brief periods of time while
being used; these memories are held for 30 seconds or more
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Selective Attention- The ability to focus on only one stimulus from among all sensory input
This “bottleneck” effect that allows for focus on only one stimulus is Broadbent’s selective-
attention filter
The cocktail party effect is being able to distinguish when someone calls your name from among
all of the stimuli present at a cocktail party
Dr. Anne Treisman proposed a two-stage memory filtering process
-Stage 1: Incoming stimuli to sensory memory are filtered on the basis of physical properties
-Stage 2: Only the stimuli that meet a threshold of a certain level of importance are processed
*Short-term memory tends to be encoded primarily in auditory (sound) form
Working Memory- An active system that processes the information in short-term memory
Made up of 3 interrelated systems
1. Central Executive (AKA “CEO”) that controls and coordinates other 2 systems; is basically an
2. A visual “sketchpad”
3. An auditory “Recorder”
-Miller noted the “magical number seven, plus or minus two” as the number of pieces of info that the
human brain can hold onto in STM at once
“Chunking” digits together can be used to trick the STM into holding more info
“Short term memory lasts from about 12-30 seconds without rehearsal”
Maintenance rehearsal is the practice of saying information to be remembered in one’s held
over and over again in order to retain it in STM (only lasts as long as uninterrupted rehearsal is
Long-Term Memory
Long-Term Memory is the system of memory in which all of the information is placed to be kept more or
less permanently
*These memories may be available. But not accessible
Rote-learning: “Rotating” information in one’s head over and over again for the purpose of learning
“In general, LTM functions as a mental storage house of the meanings of words, concepts, and all the
events that people want to keep in mind
“The best way to encode information into LTM is through elaborative rehearsal
Elaborative rehearsal is a method of transferring info from STM to LTM by making the info
meaningful in some way
Easiest way to do this is to connect new info with something already well known
Types of Long-Term Info
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