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Long term memory
When we perform tasks such as swimming we do not call on our conscious memory to enable us to
do so, we can carry out this task unconsciously. Unlike semantic and episodic memory which calls on
This concerns your knowledge such as to know the capital of France is Paris. You do not need to know
when and where you learnt this information but you are aware of it. Unlike episodic memory
whereby you are tied to a time and place.
Information in semantic memory is thought to be hierarchically organized (Bower et al).
Aim To investigate semantic categorization in long term memory
Method Independent measures design. Two groups were presented with the same words to
learn but in different ways. They were given four trails of 28 words either
hierarchically organized on the page or randomly on the page. They were then asked
to free recall as many words as possible (dependent variable).
Results The hierarch condition had significantly higher recalled (mean of 73 words) than the
random condition (mean of 21 words).
Conclusion As recall is facilitated by organization, long term memory storage is probably
Evaluation When PP carry out memory experiments, an assumption is made about how the
material is encoded. In the bower study it is assumed PP make semantic associations
between the words in the organized condition, but not in the random condition. In
fact this might not be the case. Even in a controlled experimental setting, it is difficult
to know precisely what processing is taking place. In addition such controlled
laboratory experiments may tell us little about how memory works in the real world.
An example of a question that would require this is what did you have for breakfast this morning?
Cohen 1993 argued for a distinction between two types of episodic memory:
1. Auto biographical memory for specific life events that have personal meaning, for example
where you went on holiday last year
2. Experimented: for example learning lists of words which are already stored in semantic memory
but are now tied to the specific episode of processing the list of words for an experiment.
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A flashbulb memory is detailed and vivid memory of an event that is stored after one occasion
and lasts a lifetime. Such events are often life-changing autobiographical events such as birthday
and deaths. There is normally some emotion associated with these.
Conway et al
Aim To investigate a flashbulb memory for the memorable event of Margaret thatchers
Method An opportunity sample of 923 PP was interviewed soon after the resignation and
just over one-third of them were interviewed again 11 months later.…read more