Cognition - Lecture 9 (Components of Memory)

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  • Lecture 9 - Components of Memory
    • Working Memory (WM): mechanism for holding in mind, in an active, highly available state, a small amount of information
      • recently derived from processing of sensory input
      • recently retrieved from long-term memory
      • recently generated by ongoing operations
      • as input for ongoing and imminent mental operations and overt actions
    • Three reasons for positing a separate "working memory"
      • Introspection: primary vs. secondary memory
      • Physiology: info stored in current neural activity vs. changes in synaptic strength
        • Something must hold new information during initial "consolidation" into LTM
      • Complex information processing systems use temporary "work-spaces"
        • To keep info being operated on readily available
        • To temporarily store info that is not worth storing permamently
    • Measuring short-term forgetting:
      • The "Brown-Peterson" distraction paradigm
        • P reads short list, tries to retain it while counting backwards by 3 until cued to recall
        • Retention rapidly declines over time, then levels off; interval varies from trial to trial
      • Probed recall
        • S sees or hears a long sequence of items followed by a probe item that was in sequence
        • Must recall the item that followed the probe
        • Rapid forgetting followed by slower loss
      • Free recall
        • S sees/hears long sequence of items
        • At end of list tries to recall as many as possible in any order
          • If last few are recalled first, they are relatively well remembered - the recency effect
    • The pattern of short-term forgetting
      • Dual-trace theory:
        • retrieval after short interval mediated by temporary rapidly-decaying trace; retrieval after longer interval mediated by a more permanent trace
        • Dual-trace theory would be supported by:
          • A) retention over short interval influenced by factors that don't influence retention over a long interval (Factor A)
          • B) retention over long interval influenced by factors that don't influence retention over a short interval (Factor B)
            • "Double dissociation" between the effects of A and B
              • A) retention over short interval influenced by factors that don't influence retention over a long interval (Factor A)
      • Single-trace theory: trace decays rapidly to start with, then more slowly

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