Basic Memory Processes
- Information coded or
transformed so it can enter memory.
- Three types of codes:
- Acoustic -
- Visual -
images or pictures
- Semantic - meaning
- Retain the information
over time, consolidation
- Get the information
back when needed.
How Researchers Study Memory:
· Explicit Memory
Task - Directly ask the person if they remember something
- Recall Task
- Generate correct
answer. Few or no retrieval cues
- Essay test,
- Recognition Task
- Select answer from
possible choices. Identify that material is familiar, have encountered it
- Multiple choice
- May recognize a face and not recall a
- Relearning (Savings
previously learned material. Measure % of time or trials saved in
- Cumulative final
· Implicit Memory
Task - A person could have encoded the information but may not be able
to retrieve - Learning may show up in other tasks. Unconscious memory
· Word Stem Completion ,
fill in blank, word fragments
· Give some of the letters of a word and
asked to fill in with first word that comes to mind.
· May be able to recognize a word faster if
have seen it previously, earlier encounter with stimuli increases the speed or
accuracy with which that stimuli can be named, etc. at a later time
See difference between 2 in Amnesic
patients – suggest retrieval not encoding problem
Information Processing Model of Memory
- Sensory Memory
- Holds the sensation of
a sensory stimulus for brief period of time after the stimulus ends.
- Two types of sensory memory:
- Iconic - Holds
visual memory trace. Duration < 1 sec. Why not notice
- Echoic -
Holds auditory memory trace. Duration 2 - 4 sec. Last few
words echo briefly in head
experiment - Whole vs. Partial report, immediate vs. delayed presentation
- Short-term Memory
(STM) (working memory)
- What currently
thinking about at any given moment
- Encoding primarily acoustic.
- Holds limited
amount of information for a short period of time - Approximately.
20-30 sec. Maintenance rehearsal, or repetition
can increase storage time.
- Capacity? 7 +
- Increase by Chunking
- Break large
amounts of information into meaningful groups.
- Newer models
also include amount of processing of information - space needed to
do something with the information
- Long Term Memory (LTM)
- Capacity unlimited.
- Little evidence all
memories permanently stored exactly as they occurred (penny example)
- Episodic and semantic
memories are stored as schemas.
- A cognitive
structure which provides a meaningful framework for organizing
- Knowledge and
assumptions of people, object, events, world. Way we perceive world
- Affects encoding
(what people notice) and recall
is information stored in LTM?
Concepts – categories of
objects, events, etc. that have common features, formed through everyday
Prototype – best or most
representative example of a concept
Procedural memory – a form of memory that
involves a sequence of movements or actions and enables us to perform various
acts or skills. Motor memory. Swim, drive car, etc. I know how to…
Episodic memory – a form of memory that
represents our knowledge of personally experienced events and the order in
which they occurred. Summer camp in childhood, first week at college. I
Semantic memory – a form of memory that
represents knowledge of words, symbols, and concepts including the meaning and
rules for using them. Carry on conversation, understand math and history, text,
Forgetting of Long Term Memories
- The Serial Position
- Primacy Effects
- Words at beginning
of a list more likely to be remembered than words in middle
of a list.
- Words at the end
of a list more likely to be remembered than word in middle
of a list.
Why do we forget? Theories of Forgetting
- Decay Theory
- Memories erode
or fade over time.
- More likely STM than
- Interference Theory
- Retrieval impaired
by other, especially similar memories
- Proactive Interference
- Prior information inhibits
one’s ability to recall new information Old
gets in the way of the new.
- Retroactive Interference
- New material
disrupts memory of previously learned information. New gets in the way of
- Majority of forgetting
occurs immediately after stop actively learning (Forgetting
· How Overcome?
- continue to practice once know information.
- Massed vs. Distributed
practice - studying over several shorter time blocks better than
cramming into one longer time block.
- More than just amount of
Encoding Long Term Memories
- Levels of Processing
- Deeper the level
which information processed, more likely to remember it.
- Actively organizing
the to be remembered information
- Creating meaningful
associations between new memories and previously stored material.
- Active vs. Passive
learning - mnemonics better than rote
- Visual, Acoustic,
Factors that impact retreival
- Cue Dependence Theory
- Recall best when cues
present at encoding are also available at retrieval.
- Recall improved when
the environment setting is the same at encoding and recall.
- Recall improved when
emotional or physiological state is the same at encoding and
Knowledge about your storage and retrieval process
about your capabilities and abilities
Knowledge about how best to approach different tasks
Knowledge about how to retrieve information
children - little knowledge of how to learn (magical thinking), how
to revise strategies, how to pick out what is important
· Mnemonic Devices
- Methods for organizing
information to be learned.
- Method of loci
- Link Method
Flashbulb memories – vivid, emotional, short duration
Consequentiality, arousal, distinctiveness,
See changes in memory – wrong time, tv bias, stereotypical reactions (Challenger space shuttle)
Reconstruction approach to memory
Look at quality not quantity – what added
or changed, why certain items more likely to be forgotten or changed
Memory not exact replica of event but pieced
together, influenced by past experience, context
Distortions – grades (remember A’s
89% of time, F’s 28% of time, tended to raise GPA), raising children
(easier than it was, more like book than actually was)
- Emotional Arousal
- Attention directed
at culprit or weapon, misses other details.
- Difficult to recognize
members of a race other than our own. (15% higher misidentifications)
- Believe a person in
line-up is culprit, more likely to pick someone.
- Accuracy decreases
the more mugshots one views.
- Misleading questions
- Smashed/hit - If
participants were asked how fast someone was going when they smashed into
another car, they reported a higher miles per hour as compared to the hit
group. They were also more likely to report seeing broken glass even if
none was at the accident scene.
- Did you see _______. - If a participant is asked a question about some
object, they are more likely to remember seeing that object, even if the
object was not present.
- Children are more likely to
make mistakes than adults
- Participants can be highly
confident that they are accurate, even when they are not. Confidence has
little to do with accuracy