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Chapter 2

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PSY 381

Chapter 2 Review Key Terms from Lecture Short-term memory (STM): the capacity to store small amounts of information over a short period of time. It is part of the working memory system. Working memory (WM): a system that allows us to temporarily store and actively manipulate information for problem solving, reasoning, learning, and comprehension. Chunking: refers to the process of organizing or grouping individual components into meaningful larger units. During word list learning, for example, one may automatically group words according to semantic categories such as animals with fur. Simple trace decay: thought to explain forgetting in STM when rehearsal is prevented. Simple trace decay is thought to occur over a very short time interval (15-18 sec). Proactive interference: occurs when old or previously learned information interferes with memory for new information. For example, studying for a Spanish language exam before studying for a German language exam may result in proactive interference of information. The Spanish words that you just studied interfere with your ability to memorize new words in German because you mix them up. Retroactive interference: occurs when newly learned information interferes with memory for old or previously learned information. For example, once a new telephone number is memorized it may interfere with memory for the old telephone number. Verbal short-term memory: refers to STM for verbal or acoustic information. Phonological loop: the term applied by Baddeley and Hitch (1974) to describe the process of articulatory or speech-like rehearsal in verbal STM. It is made up of two subcomponents called the short-term store and articulatory rehearsal process. Short-term store: a limited capacity store for sounds or phonological code. Items in this store decay within a few seconds if they are not rehearsed. Articulatory rehearsal process: involves saying the word or digit to oneself aloud or subvocally in order to refresh the memory traces in the short-term store. Visual short-term memory: refers to memory for objects and visual patterns. Spatial short-term memory: refers to memory for where objects are located in space. Phonological similarity effect: describes the detrimental effects on memory of having similar sounding items grouped together. For example, if recognition memory is tested for letters of the 1 alphabet, presenting letters with similar phonological characteristics (e.g., B and V) may interfere with correct recognition of letters. Word length effect: describes the detrimental effects on memory of having longer words that take longer to say grouped together. This is because rehearsal involves articulating longer words so more trace decay and/or forgetting occurs. Articulatory suppression: refers to the interference or prevention of articulatory rehearsal by having participants continuously repeat a language-like sound such as “la-la-la-la-la.” Double dissociation: is a term that is often used in neuropsychology when two patient groups show opposite patterns of deficit linked to different areas of brain damage. Key Concepts from Lecture Differences between STM and WM: STM WM • More passive rehearsal process for • More active manipulation of maintaining information. information. • Temporary “working on” memory • Temporary “working with” memory store. store. • Part of WM. • Works with information from STM and long-term memory (LTM) for the task at hand. Working memory allows for temporary storage and manipulation of information for problem solving, reasoning, learning, and comprehension. Memory span capacity George Miller worked for Bell Laboratories and found that most individuals can remember 7 +/- 2 items in STM. He also showed that chunking increases the number of items that can be remembered because the unit then becomes the group of “chunked” items. Thus, most people can remember 7 +/- 2 chunks. If each chunk includes many items, you can store significantly more items in STM through this process. Duration of memory trace in STM Peterson and Peterson (1959) trace-decay experiment: Three phases: 1. They presented participants with trigrams (3-letter sequences) for study. 2. Participants were then asked to count backwards by 3 starting from the number 49. In other words, they were given a distractor task. 3. Participants were asked to recall the trigrams. Findings: 1. Introducing an unrelated distractor task lowers participants’ memory for studied trigrams. 2 2. Peterson and Peterson (1959) concluded that STM traces decay quickly as a function of time, which they called simple trace decay. Does forgetting occur because of decay or distraction? Paul Muter (1980) distraction experiment: Three phases: 1. Participants were presented with tr
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