The cognitive approach

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  • The cognitive approach
    • Levels of processing framework (theory)
      • Alternative to the multi-store model of memory.
        • 1) Sensory register (information taken in by our senses)
        • 2) Information travels to the short term memory
          • If information isn't rehearsed it is lost
        • 3) if the information has been rehearsed, it travels to the long term memory
        • Arose due to the problems of this model.
          • Some people can still gather long term memories, even though their short term memory has been damaged.
            • E.g. those who have suffered brain damage in car accidents.
          • it's hard to say what capacity means
      • 1972
      • Craik and Lockhart
      • "Memory is a by-product of attending to information"
      • The more depth and analysis you give to something, the better you will remember it.
      • Examines attention, encoding, rehearsal and retrieval.
    • Cue-dependent theory
      • Both theories of forgetting
        • Trace decay theory
          • Applies to both short term and long term memory
          • Memories have a physical trace
            • Called an engram
          • Over time  traces deteriorates and is lost
            • However, even when a memory is forgotten, it still leaves a trace in the brain
              • This trace is in the form of a physical or chemical change in the brain's nervous system.
                • Forgetting is the automatic decay of these traces.
              • The strength of a trace can  be improved through rehearsal
          • A memory can be held in the short term memory for 15-30 seconds if not rehearsed. If not rehearsed, it is forgotten
            • However, even when a memory is forgotten, it still leaves a trace in the brain
              • This trace is in the form of a physical or chemical change in the brain's nervous system.
                • Forgetting is the automatic decay of these traces.
              • The strength of a trace can  be improved through rehearsal
          • Memory worsens as the gap between learning increases.
            • Events that occur during this time do not matter
          • Evaluation
            • There is evidence to prove it
            • There is more of a focus on the physical process of forgetting which can be backed up by illnesses such as Allzheimer's seem to loose memories rather than being unable to retrieve them, this makes the theory applicable and valid
            • In studies of this, we cannot know if the information has been attended to or not so the studies may be invalid and other things may be causing these effects
            • Some memories are resistant to being forgotten e.g flashbulb memories
          • Supported by Peterson and Peterson's study
            • Aim- to test whether information held in the short-term memory will disapear if rehearsal is prevented
              • To see if information is lost through decay
            • Pps shown trigrams then given a distractor task (asked to count backwards in multiples of three from varying numbers)
              • individuals asked to recall their trigram after varying ttime spans either 3,6,9,12, or 18 seconds
            • IV- time between learning and recall
            • DV- number of trigrams recalled
            • Results- after 3 seconds- 80% accurate recall. After 6 second- 60% accurate recall. After 18 seconds- less than 10% accurate recall
      • Tulving 1975
      • Only applies to the long term memory
      • The survival of memories is based upon whether the right cues are around to prompt rehearsal
        • Forgetting occurs when these cues are absent
      • Two things are necessary for recall to occur.
        • A memory trace
          • A physical trace is created as a result of perception and stimulus
        • A retrieval cue
          • Something in your environment, similar to that when the memory was created that acts as a cue for recall
      • Decay occurs when cues are not available and thus rehearsal can't happen
      • Evidence for this theory
        • Godden and Baddely
          • 1975
          • Aims
            • To investigate the role of environment on recall of information
            • To research the role of context cues.
            • To see if recall was better if the learning context was present at the time of recall
          • Results
            • Words learned and recalled in the same environment had the highest numbers of words recalled
            • Learn on dry recall on dry= 13.5 (average recalled words)
              • Learn on dry recall in wet= 8.6
            • Learn in wet, recall in wet= 11.4
              • Learn in wet, recall in dry= 8.5
            • Higher number of words recalled when learnt and recalled on land than in water
          • Procedure
            • Field experiment
              • Underwater environment vs on land. There is a significant difference between these environments
            • Divers asked to learn words both on land and underwater and then recalled them both on land and underwater.
              • Four conditons:
                • Land, land
                  • When the experiment took place on land the pps were sat by the water
                    • Still had scuba gear on
                • Land, water
                • Water, Water
                  • 20 feet below suface
                • Water, land
                • All divers experienced all four conditions
                  • Repeated measures design
                  • There was at least 24 hours between conditions
                    • To prevent pps from getting the bends
                • Pps were already cold and wet as they did the experiments at the end of their diving day
            • Hypothesis was that those who are asked to learn and recall in the same environment will recall better than those asked to do so in various environments
              • There would be a presence of context dependent cues
            • 18 participants from a divers club
              • 13 males
              • 5 females
              • On a diving holiday in Scotland
              • All medical students
            • The lists each had 36 unrelated words of two or three syllables chosen at random from a word book
              • Word lists were recorded on tapes and the  divers listened to them whilst underwater using a DUC
                • There was a practice session as the divers had to learn to breathe out and hold their breath for 3 words as otherwise the sound of breathing would affect their hearing
              • Divers could listen to the lists twice
                • Afterwards the divers had to listen to 15 numbers and write them down
                  • Distractor task
          • Evaluation
            • The divers were volunteers and on holiday so the dive site had to be changed daily based on where the divers were
            • Couldn't control for time of day and weather so the study couldn't be carried out on four days in a row as planned.
            • There could have been cheating as the researchers couldn't observe the students
              • Researchers thought not as...
                • If there was then underwater recall would have been higher and it was not
                • Diving partners would have been aware
                • The participants were medical students who would have understood the importance of research
              • Lack of validity?
            • If pps had to recall in a different environment they had to change context which took time
              • Could have affected recall
              • Unlike if they were in the same environment where they would have recalled straight away
              • So therefore conducted a second study where in one condition pps got in and out of the water between learning and recall
                • Concluded that disruption wouldn't have caused an effect
            • The study has strong controls
              • Study is replicable and findings relible
                • They replicated the study to an extent
                  • Similar but still different results
            • Could be argued that the study hasn't got mundane realism
              • The pps were qualified divers and so was normal for them
                • Weren't used to learning word lists underwater
                • Ecological validity
            • Pps were put at risk, at one point one pps was nearly run over by an army truck
              • Goes against BPS ethical guideline of protection from harm
              • The pps were at risk of getting the bends from holding their breath
          • Conclusions
            • Concluded that environment is important with recall as it can possibly provide cues resembling those at the time of encoding
            • When forgetting occurs it is due to the fact that contextual cues aren't present
              • Results are not likely due to disruption between learning and recall
                • Recall is better if the environment is reinstated
        • Tulving and Watkins
      • State cue
        • Cues within the individual e.g. the feeling of being drunk may bring back similar memories
      • Context cues
        • Cues about the environment, e.g. being in the same spot where a significant event happend
    • Bartlett's reconstructive memory theory
      • Memory is not like a tape recorder, it can't be paused, rewound etc and doesn't record perfectly.
        • Loftus agrees
        • Depends on how well the information was processed.
          • Like a game of Chinese whispers
      • Past and current experiences affect the way we remember an event
        • Perception and interpretation
        • Schemata affect our memory.
          • Ideas and scripts about the world.
          • We combine the memory with our Schemata
            • Allport and Postman- showed pps a picture of a white man attacking someone with a razor, over time the pps changed their memory to see  the black man holding a knife.
        • Schemata give you expectations and rules about what to do
          • E.g how to act at a funeral
      • Carried out a study into his theory
        • Used a Native American folk story, the war of the ghosts.
          • The story was unfamiliar to participants as it came from a different culture.
            • Thus didn't fit in well with their existing schemata
        • He read the story to the participants and then asked them to recall it.
          • They were called back and asked to recall it a number of times
            • Once soon after the story was told, then a few months after the telling and finally a year after the telling
            • The story became shorter over time but made more sense
              • After about 6 recall sessions the story was reduced from 330 words to 180.
              • People rationalised the parts of the story that made no sense and altered their memories to ensure that they were recalling a sensible story
              • They reconstructed their memories of the story
        • conclusion-pps remembered the meaning of the stories but made necessary distortions
      • Loftus= supporting evidence
        • Unreliability of eye witness testimony
        • Evaluation
          • Can be tested using an experimental method, features can be counted
          • Lack of reliability
            • Participants may alter the story to make more sense to the person whom they are retelling it to
            • There may be demand characteristics as the pps may guess they will be asked to recall the story and thus make a conscious effort to remember it
          • The theory describes, it does not explain
          • Carmicheal et al (we did this in class) pps shown the same symbol but with different words e.g trowel and pickaxe, they then were asked to draw it but they altered their drawings to fit their given word.
      • Evaluation
        • Can be tested using an experimental method, features can be counted
        • Lack of reliability
          • Participants may alter the story to make more sense to the person whom they are retelling it to
          • There may be demand characteristics as the pps may guess they will be asked to recall the story and thus make a conscious effort to remember it
        • The theory describes, it does not explain
        • Carmicheal et al (we did this in class) pps shown the same symbol but with different words e.g trowel and pickaxe, they then were asked to draw it but they altered their drawings to fit their given word.
    • Craik and Tulving (1975)
      • Aim
        • To test the levels of processing theory
          • Recalled material will be that information with meaning
        • Does durability of a memory trace come from the depth of processing
          • (semantic processing)
        • Did deeper processing mean processing for a longer time
      • Procedure
        • Pps put into situations where they forced to use different types of recall
          • Shallow encoding
            • pps asked questions about the script (words) themselves. E.g visual processing
              • For example-is this word  written in capital letters?
          • Intermediate depth
            • Phonemic or phonetic processing, the pps were asked questions about the sound of the words
              • Does this word rhyme with cow?
          • Deep level processing
            • Semantic processing- pps asked to analyse the deeper meaning of a word
        • Pps were tested individually
          • They were told the experiment was about perception and reaction time
        • Tachistoscope was used
          • Words shown for 200 miliseconds
            • Question asked about the word before it was shown
        • Questions  related to different levels of processing
          • Sometimes the question was read to the pps, other times they had to read the querstion for themselves on a card
            • Pps responded to the questions by raising one hand for yes and another for no
              • Half of the questions should have been answered yes and half should have been answered no
        • After a few trials they were given a recognition or recall task
          • Recall involved no prompts
          • Recognition involved a word list with distractor words included
        • Experiment one
          • Measured all 3 levels of processing
          • Words shown on a tachistoscope in 3 second intervals
          • 40 words (trials)
            • 80 words in the recognition task e.g 40 distractor words
          • Yes and no's were voice activated
          • 10 conditions
      • Results
        • Yes questions recalled better than no questions
        • Different levels of processing took different times to respond
        • Semantic processing lead to the best recognition / recall
      • Conclusions
        • Positive answers are more likely to be remembered
        • Semantic processing leads to deeper memory
      • Evaluation
        • The experiment had strong controls and was clearly operationalised
          • For example the tachistoscope ensured that each words was on for the exact same time as another
          • The experiment can be easily replicated and therefore is reliable
            • Craik and Tulving themselves replicated th study and so proved reliability
        • The research is based fully on the framework set out by Craik and Lockhart. It directly reffers back to it and tests the weaknesses
          • For example a criticism of the framework was that they did not take into account length of time for processing so Craik and Tulving measured this.
        • It is hard to say what "depth" means and thus it is hard to know how to test this
          • Subjective
        • The task lacks mundane realism and so could be lacking in validity
        • Laboratory experiment so may lack in ecological validity
    • Key issue- is eye witness testimony reliable?
      • Ronald Cotton and Jenifer Thompson
      • Loftus and palmer
        • Two experiments
        • Supporters of Bartlett's cue dependency theory
        • Showed their pps videos of a car crash and then asked them subsequent questions about it
      • Used in many courts as a main way of sentencing someone
      • See key issue mindmapp
    • Practical experiment
      • Aim
        • To replicate Craik and Tulving's experiment
        • To test our hypothesis that "more words will be recalled with semantic processing links than will be
      • Sample
        • 18 psychology students
        • Studying at Sussex Downs College
        • Aged 16-18
      • Controls
        • Recalling had to be done in silence to prevent cheating
        • A distractor task was done to try to prevent participant effects and allow the brain time to forget
      • Conditions
        • Visual processing and the questions relating to this level of processing
        • Semantic processing and the questions relating to this level of processing
        • Phonemic/phonetic processing and the questions relating to this level of processing
    • Assumptions
      • Focus on the idea of information processing
        • 1) Information is taken in by our senses
          • Touch, taste, smell, sight and sound
        • 2) The information is processed
        • 3) The information is remembered and thus encoded and stored.
        • 4) The memory is remembered by being retrieved from storage.
      • The brain acts as a computer
      • Assumes all information is processed in the brain
    • Trace decay theory
      • Applies to both short term and long term memory
      • Memories have a physical trace
        • Called an engram
      • Over time  traces deteriorates and is lost
        • A memory can be held in the short term memory for 15-30 seconds if not rehearsed. If not rehearsed, it is forgotten
          • Memory worsens as the gap between learning increases.
            • Events that occur during this time do not matter
          • Evaluation
            • There is evidence to prove it
            • There is more of a focus on the physical process of forgetting which can be backed up by illnesses such as Allzheimer's seem to loose memories rather than being unable to retrieve them, this makes the theory applicable and valid
            • In studies of this, we cannot know if the information has been attended to or not so the studies may be invalid and other things may be causing these effects
            • Some memories are resistant to being forgotten e.g flashbulb memories
          • Supported by Peterson and Peterson's study
            • Aim- to test whether information held in the short-term memory will disapear if rehearsal is prevented
              • To see if information is lost through decay
            • Pps shown trigrams then given a distractor task (asked to count backwards in multiples of three from varying numbers)
              • individuals asked to recall their trigram after varying ttime spans either 3,6,9,12, or 18 seconds
            • IV- time between learning and recall
            • DV- number of trigrams recalled
            • Results- after 3 seconds- 80% accurate recall. After 6 second- 60% accurate recall. After 18 seconds- less than 10% accurate recall

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