Memory

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  • Memory
    • Short and long-term memory
      • Memory - an organisms ability to store, retain & recall information.
        • Short-term memory - memory that holds approximately 7 chunks of information for a limited amount of time.
        • Long-term memory - memory that holds a vast amount of information for a long time.
      • Duration - a measure of how long a memory lasts before it is no longer available.
      • Coding - the way information is changed so that it can be stored in memory.
        • Peterson & Peterson (1959): duration of STM = 18 seconds. 24 participants tested over 8 trials. Given a consonant syllable & 3-digit number, e.g. THX 512. They had to recall them. Intervals of 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 or 18 seconds. During the interval, count back from their number.
          • 90% correct on 3s, 20% correct on 9s, and 2% correct on 18s.
          • Evaluation: artificial task - not related to everyday life; displacement - counting may displace the syllables.
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      • Lists
        • Acoustic - sounds the same but does not mean the same thing.
          • STM.
        • Semantic - mean the same thing but don't sound the same.
        • LTM.
    • The multi-store model of memory
      • MSM - explanation of memory based on 3 stores and how it is transferred between them.
      • Sensory register - where information is held at each of the senses. Large capacity. Short duration.
      • Attention - if someone's attention is focused on one of the sensory stores, then the data is transferred to the STM.
      • STM - information is stored here to be used for immediate tasks. Not rehearsed or new information comes in, it goes.
      • Maintenance rehearsal - repetition keeps information in the STM but it will create a LTM.
      • LTM - unlimited in duration and capacity. Rehearsal information is stored.
      • Retrieval - the process of getting information from the LTM involves the information passing back through the STM. Available for use.
      • Evaluation: controlled laboratory study; brain scan techniques demonstrate that there's a difference between LTM & STM. Suggests that STM & LTM are single 'unitary' stores.
    • The working memory model
      • WMM - explanation for the memory used when working on a task.
      • Central executive: monitors & coordinates all other mental functions in working memory; data arrives from the senses or LTM; limited capacity; direct attention to particular tasks.
      • Visual-spatial sketchpad: codes visual information; an inner scribe which stores the arrangement of objects in the visual field.
      • Phonological loop: codes speech sounds in working memory; limited capacity; articulatory process in which is used for words that are heard or seen.
      • Episodic buffer: receives input from many sources and then integrates it in order to construct a mental episode of what is being experienced; general store; limited capacity.
      • Evaluation: KF - short-term forgetting of auditory information was much greater than that of visual stimuli. This suggests that STM is more up to different stores; concern about the central executive - what is it? Too vague.
    • Types of long-term memory
      • Episodic: personal memories of events; 3 elements - specific details, context, emotion; explicit; personal experiences; large sequence.
      • Semantic: shared memory for facts & knowledge; rate to things & behaviour; begin as episodic, gradual transition; explicit.
      • Procedural: how to do things; concerned with skills; acquired through repetition & practice; automatic; implicit.
      • Evaluation: brain scans suggests that different areas of the brain are active when the different kinds of LTM are active; HM - his ability to form new LTMs was affected by the destruction of his hippocampus but he retained his pre-existing LTMs.
    • Explanations for forgetting
      • Retrieval failure - an explanation for forgetting based on the idea that the issue relates to being able to retrieve a memory that is there but not accessible.
        • Cues - things that serve as a reminder.
        • Economy specificity principle: suggests that information present at the time of learning, should also be present at the time of retrieval; Tulving - participants had to learn 48 words in 12 categories - 2 recall conditions - either recall as many words as they could or they were given cues in the form of the category names.
        • Evaluation: there is a lot of support; danger of circularity - Nairne (2002) claims that the encoding cues and later retrieval is a correlation rather than a cause.
    • Accuracy of eyewitness testimony
      • Eyewitness testimony - evidenced provided in court by a person who witnessed a crime, with a view to identifying the perpetrator of the crime.
      • The Innocence: claim that 72% of convictions overturned by DNA testing involved eyewitness testimony that is not accurate.
        • 3 stages: (1) encoding - witness encodes into LTM details of the event and the people involved, (2) retains - witness retains the information for a period of time, (3) retrieval - witness retrieves the memory from storage.
      • Anxiety - an unpleasant state that is often accompanied by increased heart rate and rapid breathing.
        • Weapon focus effect - focus on the weapon meaning that your attention is not at the person.
        • Johnson & Scott (1976): participants had to sit next door to a room with arguing. They saw a man run through with either a pen covered in grease or a knife covered in blood; 49% pen, 33% knife; identify the man from photos.
          • Evaluation: Pickel (1998) proposed that the reduced accuracy of identification due to the weapon focus effect could be due to surprise rather than anxiety; real life studies have more validity over lab experiments.
    • Improving the accuracy of eyewitness testimony
      • Cognitive interview - police technique for interviewing witnesses to a crime, which encourages them to recreate the original context of the crime.
      • Mentally reinstatement of original context - mentally recreate the environment of the incident; report every detail; change order - alternative ways through the timeline; multiple perspectives.
      • Evaluation: an increase in the amount of correct information; not just one 'procedure', but a collection of related techniques.
  • Retroactive interference - the current memories are interfering with the past, learnt memories.
    • Muller (1900): gave participants a list of nonsense syllables to learn for 6 minutes and after an interval, they were asked to recall the list; it wasn't as good if they were given a task to do in between; it produced RI as the interval task interfered
    • Interference - explanation for forgetting in terms of one memory disrupting the ability to recall another.
      • Explanations for forgetting
        • Retrieval failure - an explanation for forgetting based on the idea that the issue relates to being able to retrieve a memory that is there but not accessible.
          • Cues - things that serve as a reminder.
          • Economy specificity principle: suggests that information present at the time of learning, should also be present at the time of retrieval; Tulving - participants had to learn 48 words in 12 categories - 2 recall conditions - either recall as many words as they could or they were given cues in the form of the category names.
          • Evaluation: there is a lot of support; danger of circularity - Nairne (2002) claims that the encoding cues and later retrieval is a correlation rather than a cause.
      • Proactive interference - the memories in the past are interfering with the current ones being learnt.
  • Baddeley & Hitch (1977): asked a rugby team to name the teams they have played in a season; more games played, more interference.
    • Evaluation
      • Research is artificial: evidence to support PI & RI; lab based & used artificial lists of words - may not relate to everyday life; participants may not be motivated to remember.
      • Individual differences: Kane & Engle (2000) demonstrated that individuals with a greater working memory span were less susceptible to proactive interference.
    • Proactive interference - the memories in the past are interfering with the current ones being learnt.

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