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Chapter 7.1

PSYCH 130 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7.1: Short-Term Memory, Long-Term Memory, Synaptic Pruning

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Information Processing Approach
Complex symbol manipulating system
1. Encode: take in by system and retain in symbolic form
2. Recoding: internal processes operate on it and revise to more effective representation
3. Decoding: interpreting its meaning by comparing and combining it with other info in
the system
Analogous to a computer
Can run computer simulations to see if they are similar to adult and children’s responses
General Model of Info Processing
Store model (Atkinson and Shiffrin): three parts of the mental system for processing
Sensory register, short term memory store, long term memory store
Mental strategies operate on and transform info, so that it can be retained, used
efficiently and adapted depending on circumstances
Components of the Mental System
Sensory register: stores a wide panorama of information momentarily but info decays if
not attended to
Attending to info increases the chance that it will transfer to the short term memory store
Short term memory store: retain attended info briefly so we can actively work on it
Verbatim digit span: longest sequence of items a person can repeat back in
exact order
About 7 items in adults
Working memory: number of items that can be briefly held in mind while also engaging
in some effort to monitor or manipulate those items
Mental workspace
About two items fewer than short term memory span
Can be a predictor of a child’s learning capacity
Central executive: directs flow of info, implementing basic procedures and engaging in
sophisticated activities that enable complex flexible thinking
Better learned cognitive activities are more automatic
Automatic processes: so well learned that they require no space in working memory
and therefore permit us to focus on other info while simultaneously performing them
Long term memory: permanent knowledge base, unlimited
Retrieval can be aided by applying strategies
Categorized by contents like a library system
Implications for Development
Parts of the cognitive system improve with age
Basic capacity esp working memory
Speed with which children work on info
Executive function - applying basic procedures and higher level strategies
Working memory capacity
Increases steadily with age
Individual differences in working memory capacity reflect differences in intelligence
scores and academic achievement
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