Lancaster University cognative psychology

Lancaster University cognative psychology

Cognitive - psychology

Semantic Memory

Collins & Quillian (1969, 1972) Collins & Loftus (1975):- Nodes in a Network model

  • Network:- interrelated set of concepts (body of knowledge) Node:- location in a semantic space containing information Pathways:- association between concepts and the links between node's
  • Sreading Activation:- using this model to retrieve information
  • Proposition:-relationship between two concepts
  • Property Statement:-relationship between node's being expressed (e.g. car's have wheel's)
  • Hierarchical:- some nodes are subsets of other nodes, super-sets i.e. robin. properties i.e. feathers, wings etc.
  • Intersection:- Connecting pathway between two concepts (activation from two separate nodes meeting)
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Testing Collin & Loftus network model

Sentence Verification Task.Simple statements are presented to the participants that require yes of not answer (used in most early tests of semantic memory). they measured response times for two sets of questions properties and Super-sets. they found that super-sets were significantly quicker then properties.

Typicality Effect:-not all members of a category are equal more typical examples are identified quicker. e.g. bat's are mammals but are harder to identify possibly due to them appearing more like birds.

Cognitive Economy:- Collins & Quillian argue semantic memory would have problems with storage capacity. So properties of all birds are stored in bird rather individual birds.

Conrad (1972):-repeated a list of properties of birds to robin. fund that frequency which properties were listed predicted speed of sentence verification not hierarchical position. NEED TO QUESTION

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Smith's Feature Comparison model

Feature list:- properties or characteristics stored in the mental representation of some concept. accessed and evaluated by making semantic judgments. there are two types of features Defining (essential to the meaning of that concept) and Characteristic (properties of a concept)

  • Defining
    • Feathers
    • Red Brest
    • Flies
  • Characteristic
    • Sings
    • Christmas cards

to retrieve information this model uses a feature comparison process. Global feature comparisons "a robin is a bird" = fast response. comparison of defining features "a bat is a bird" = slow response (due to overlapping features)

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Semantic relatedness effect:- the more highly interrelated concepts the more rapid the repose then those with a lower relatedness.

Amount of knowledge:- has some baring, the more knowledge the greater semantic relatedness go together. Evidence for this is provided by

Event-Related Potentials or ERPS (N400 brain scans):-small changes in electrical activity are measured by EEG to determine neural correlation of cognitive activity

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Categorisation, Classification, and Prototypes

Traditional research into concept formation relied on arbitrary patterns ether belonging or not. Eleanor Rosch's pointed out that this research was not comparable to the real word.

Rosch's research involved tribes from new guinea found that natural concepts and categories have internal structure called prototypes= central core instance of a category

Rosch (1975):- Cognitive Representation of semantic category. asked American college students on a scale of 1 to 7 good examples of "furniture". more typical items were rated higher (chair higher then bed) due this this fitting the prototype better

Tversky (1977) Feature similarity between concepts form categorization i.e. robin and eagle both have wings and beaks resulting in the category "Bird"

Exempler Theories:-Alternative to prototypes theory using examples instead of prototype

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Priming and semantic memory

  • Priming:-Activation of concept by other means
  • Prime:-first Stimulus
  • Target:- what the experimenter is looking for
  • Facilitation:-Positive effect
  • Inhibition:- Negative Effect
  • Lag:-Number of intervening trials between prime and target
  • Stimulus Onset Asynchony (SOA):- time between Prime and Target


  • Freedman & Loftus (1971) Priming with category is faster
  • Loftus and Loftus (1974) Category- letter prime faster then Letter-Category
  • Rosch (1975) found priming within semantic categories especially if the target was a typical member
  • Meyer & Schvaneveldt (1971) Lexical decision task. related words are judged quicker then unrelated words
  • Neely (1977)inhibition when prime unrelated to target. Longer SOA when switching from categories

Priming has a implicit basis (explicit - implicit). Their can be implicit priming effects even when loss of explicit recall information

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Using knowledge in the real world

Reconstructive memory & Semantic Integration

Bartlett (1932):- War of the ghosts, Participants did not recall may details. strong tendency for successful recall attempts to Normalize to familiar event & Rationalise the occurrence

  • Reconstructive memory :-Constructs memories by combining elements from original and existing knowledge
  • Schemas:- organised knowledge & expectations about familiar events

Bransford & Franks (1971):- Semantic Integration Tendency to store related pieces of information into unified representation

  • the ants were in the kitchen
  • the ants ate the jelly
  • the jelly was sweet
  • the jelly was on the table
  • results in = The Ants ate the sweet jelly that was in the Table
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Schank & Abelson (1977):- Script their name for a schema, typical sequence of events made of Scene's. for example the Script for eating out would be SCENE 1= Entering the building and sitting down SCENE 2= Ordering and waiting for food to arrive SCENE 3 = Eating SCENE 4 = Exiting

Bower, Black & Turner (1979):-participants studied script based stories and found that recall errors were often script based

Brewer & Treyens (1981):- participants wait in an office like room that contain noticeable and bizarre objects. Noticeable recall = OK, Bizarre recall = Better, errors reflect office schema's

Morris et al (1985):- previous knowledge in football could help in recall of fictional scores

Nickerson & Adams (1979):- More people could not identify the correct penny in a lineup Morris (1988):-most people don't know what way the queen face's and a coin despite us seeing them almost every day of are life

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Eyewitness Memory & false Memories

  • Stern (1904):- eye witness testimony not reliable
  • Whipple (1909):- free recall accurate but much detail missing. answers to question provided more information but more errors & leading questions will distort answers.
  • Buckhout (1974):-mock crime with witness, in a line up 28 out of 52 witnesses picked the wrong person
  • Baddeley (2004):-Unconscious Transference: Donald Tomson appeared on T.V. at the same time a women was *****. victim Identified him as the attacker due to the victim seeing him on T.V.

Leading questions

  • Memory Impairment:- change or Alteration in memory of event due to function of some later event
  • Loftus & Palmer (1974):-"how fast was the car going when they ?????? each other" Contacted = 32mph Smashed = 41mph
  • Loftus et al (1978):- participants shown a picture half with a stop sign half with a yield sign. were then asked "did you see the stop sign" Not misled = 90% correct, misled = 80% wrong
  • Loftus (1979):-payment of up to 25$ sis not change rate at which misled participants gave wrong answer
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Creating False Memories

  • Roediger & McDermott (1995):- a list of words all with the theme of "chair" (was not present) was presented to participants. when asked to recall the words "chair" was recognised as often as the other items with half recollection the word being there
  • Poole et al (1995):- Adults in therapy sometimes recall sexual abuse. however this can be the result of suggestions in therapy
  • Loftus & Pickrell (1995):- crated false memories of being lost in a shopping mall as a child in 25% of participants
  • Garry & wade (2005):- used doctored picture's of balloon trip to convince 71% of participants they had been one while they hadn't

Flash bulb or Vivid Memory

  • Flash bulb:- snapshot due to emotional arousing news
  • Colegrove (1899):- 33 years after Lincoln Assassination 127 out of 179 people provided detailed memory's of hearing the news
  • Brown & Kulik (1977):- Now print hypothesis, significant events are captured like a photograph
  • Mclosky et al (1988):- Chanllenger space shuttle disaster, few day = 100% recall 9 months = 50% recall
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Vary Long Term Memory Permastore

Bahrick, Bahrick & Wittlinger (1975):-"Fifty Years of Memory for Names and Faces" 400 participants aged 17 to 74 tested on names and faces of past class mates. name recognition did not decline until about 15 years and 35 years for picture decline.

Conway, Cohen & Xgznhorn (1991):- for university student decline in remembering names and concepts declines after 39 months but increases at 113 months

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Language Comprehension

universals of language

Whorf (1956):- linguistic relativity: Language shapes the way you think about the world

Hockett (1966):- believed there are 13 linguistic universals (characteristic present in all languages here are just some:-

  • Semanticity:- Convay meaning (same meaning in different language)
  • Arbitrariness:- no connection between symbols, sounds and meaning i.e. whale is a small words for a big animal.
  • flexibility of symbols:- connection between symbols and meaning is arbitrary we can change connection and invent new ones
  • Naming:- We assign names to objects, felling and concepts
  • Displacement:- ability to talk about something other then present moment
  • Productivity:- generate sentences rather then repeat them
  • Animal communication:- no genuine language in animals but almost universal in humans
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Gaze Duration

  • Gaze Duration:- how ling the eye fixates on specific word
  • Fixation:- pause on word
  • Rayner (1998):-the harder the word the longer the fixation and poor reader fixate more
  • Just & Cappenter (1980):-Key & unpredictable words get longest study
  • Carlson & Frazier (1983):- "garden path" misleading sentences then to be misinterpreted leading to reinterpretation after notice of mistake

Millers (1973) 5 levels of analysis

  • Phonology:- sounds articulated and comprehended as speech
  • Syntax:- rules for words order
  • Lexical or semantic:-words meaning and their integration into phrases
  • conceptual:- phrase and sentence meaning and semantic memory
  • Belief:- Own beliefs and speaker intent and motivation

Chomsky (1957, 1965):-

  • Competence:- Internalised knowledge of language
  • Performance:- actual language behavior of speaker
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Top-Down & Bottom up Processing:- Data driven external and conceptually driven internal processes combine in speech recognition and other language processes

Influence of Context

  • Pollack & Pickett (1964):- single words taken from a conversation and played back to participants. 47% recognised in isolation indicating that context in important
  • Miller & Isard (1963):- Speaking Grammatical, Anomalus & ungrammmatical sentences in varying noise conditions, Grammatical sentences perceived best
  • Fillenbaum (1974):- when Writing down abnormal sentences people tend to normalise without being aware of original oddness
  • Miller (1977):- beliefs are important to comprehension "Marry on John saw the mountains while they were flying to California" people assume it is Mary and john that are flying and not the mountains as that is imposable
  • Pragmatics:- More being said then just words "do you know the time" Yes or 10am ?
  • Online Comprehension Task:- Measurement of performance obtained as comprehension take place
  • Jarvella (1970):- once a sentence has ended it seems to be eliminated form working memory and only meaning remains
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Gernsbacher (1990):- Comprehension as mental structure building

  • Three principle components of the Structure-building process
    • Laying a foundation (the structure)
    • Mapping information into the structure
    • Shifting to new Structure
  • This theory links to spreading activation with the following two mechanisms
    • Enhancement:- boosting of activating the concept
    • Suppression:- reduces activation of concept

Grenbacher & Hargreaves (1988):- provide evidence for this with advantage of first mention and more recent named character

I REALLY DONT GET THIS Need to look up more detail

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Decisions Judgments and Reasoning

Syllogism:- three statements logical form, first two statements are true and the third is a conclusion based on this

  • All A are B
  • All B are C
  • Therefore all A are C

Conditional Reasoning:- if P then Q

  • Antecedent:- the "if" clause P
  • Consequent:- the "then" clause Q
  • Modus Ponens:- Affirming the Antecedent
  • Modus Tollens:- Denying the Consequent
  • Invalid Arguments:- Denying the Antecedent or affirming the Consequent

Rips & Marcus (1977):- found that people were understood modus ponens 100% better than Modus Tollens 57%

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Illicit Conversions:- reverse the "IF" "THEN" statements

Confirmation Bias:- search for evidence that confirms a conclusion

Wason & Johnson-Laird (1972) Griggs and cox (1982) **** KNOWS LOOK UP

Mental Models (Johnson-Laird):- LOOK UP???????????????

  • First form mental model based on
    • Information in the premises
    • our previous experiences
  • Search for model in which
    • Premises are true
    • Conclusions is false
  • If found, decide invalid
  • if not found, decide valid
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McClosky (1983):- peoples concept of real world and naive physics

  • This experiment used stimulus that tests peoples understanding of physics
  • Participants believed they understood Newton's Law but most didn't
  • Experience and knowledge can only help reasoning when correctly represent the world

Woodworth & Schcosberg (1954):- the bigger the difference in comparison the quicker the decision. (who would win in a fight Batman or a puppy)

Banks (1977):- Symbolic Comparisons are mental comparisons of symbols i.e. number & letter. Symbol distance effect is when we judge differences between symbols quicker when difference is bigger. 2 or 3 = slow, 2 or 9 = fast

Moyer (1973):- found smiler with real life stimulus. rabbit or hedgehog = slow, rabbit or cow = fast

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Decisions and Reasoning Under Uncertainty

Algorithm:- Specific Rules or Procedures that Guarantees a correct answer i.e. formula

Heuristic:- Method or Guideline that works under some circumstances but not 100%

Kahneman & Tversky (1972, 2003):- CLEAN UP!!!!!!

Representativesness Heuristic:- judging the likelihood of uncertain events based on similarity to other events that are in are minds despite the real world probability

  • 1. how similar the event is to the population of events in came from
  • 2. Similar to the process that produced it
  • Insensitivity to sample size found in participants. Law of large number = Larger Sample are more representative of population
  • Availability Heuristic:- in a group of 10 people are there more groups of 2 or 8? participants said 2 when in fact their are the same
  • Biases with the Availability:- judgment based on memory so stronger memory can influence or reasoning
  • Familarity Biases:- Judging more important cause they are familiar
  • Salience & vividness Biases:- vivid memory influences judgment or likelihoods
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Problem Solving

Anderson (1985):- Characteristics of problem solving

  • Goal Distractedness
  • Sequence of Operations
  • Cognitive Operation
  • Sub-goal Decomposition

Vocabulary of Problem solving

  • Problem space
    • Initial, intermediate and goal states of problem also problem solvers knowledge both current & potentially be used
  • Operators
    • Legal Operation or moves that can be performed
  • Goal
    • Well Defined problem:- where initial, Final and Operators are clearly specified
    • Ill-defined problem:- where initial, Final and Operators are poorly defined and not well specified
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Means-Ends Analysis: A Fundamental Heuristic

Means-Ends Analysis:- the best known Heuristic of Problem solving

  • Repeatedly determining the difference between current state and goal of sub-goal
  • Applying a operator that reduces this difference

Used in such cognitive task such as Tower of Hanoi, Cryparithmetic (Newall &Simon) and Missionaries and Cannibals (Glass & Holyoak 1986)

Newall & Somon (1958, 1972):- General Problem solver. computer based model of problem solving (now to basic)

  • Production system:- IF - THEN rule in models of memory processing determining physical action or mental step

Gestalt:- whole pattern. Decomposing a pattern into components losses the essential wholeness (vase/faces?)

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Difficulties in Problem Solving

  • Functional Fixedness:- using objects & Concepts in there usual way and not being able to see beyond it function. Duncker (1945) mount candle to wall
  • Negative Set:- solving problems in on particular way when easier option may be available. Lechin (1942) 3 jugs problem

Insight:- "The capacity to discern the true nature of a situation" Said to be an essential step in creative problem solving (little evidence for it)

Wolfgang Kohler (1925):- Mentality of Apes. Apes Demonstrated insight in problem solving

Maier (1931):- Two pieces of string that are out of reach that must be tied together. solution is to use pliers as pendulum

Metcalf & Wiebe (1987):- people accurate in predicting own success in algebra problems but not with insight problems

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Cognition:- Benjafield (1997):- The action or faculty of knowing, study of processes, the way in which we become acquainted with things. Ashcraft:- "Mental processes used in perceiving, remembering, thinking and Understanding.

Our perceptual ability can be exquisitely sensitive, yet it can also fail (see a lit candle from 20 miles yet their are still driving accidents when hazard are not seen)

Visual Perception

  • 120 Millions of optic cell concere????? to just 1 million ganglion cells info must be compressed
  • Contralateral (taking place on the other side):- projection of information from the visual field means we don't record visual info in its true form & may be held by separate mental systems
  • perception is not just recorded what is out there
    • Selection about intake (move are heads to choose where to look)
    • Selected info get's encoded
    • Transformation & re-processing occurs
    • evidence for construction of perception
  • Saccades:- Volentery fast eye movement to change fixation point

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Perception & Interpretation

Johansson (1973):- Point Light Display

by looking at points of light on placed on parts of articulation on individuals, people are capable of telling 1. they are human 2. the action they carry out, so we map what is on the screen to are past experience

Visual Illusion

Lilac Chaser, Diapering yellow dots, Apparent motion etc show our visual awareness dose not always corresponds with reality, not a perceptual defect but a consequences of how are systems are designed due improving performance of perception

Visual Sensory Memory

  • Visual Persistence:- Apparent continuation of visual stimulus beyond it's physical duration (Film)
  • Visual Sensory Memory (iconic memory):- holding high detailed visual information for around 250 to 500ms
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Sperling (1960) using a T-scope participants were displayed 3 to 16 alphanumerical characters in two condition The Whole Report and Partial Report

  • Whole:- asked to recall as many characters as posable indicating that this s limited to 4 to 5 items
  • Partial:- character were displayed in rows (top, middle, bottom) and were asked to recall the characters in on of the row's indicating that this is limited to 12-16 characters (LOOK UP)

Averbach & Sperling:-in Character recall dark pre & post exposure of the characters produced better recall rate's then light (lighting more visible at night time because of contrast with background) sharper contrast improves iconic memory

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Pattern Recognition:- Write language

  • Templates:- stored models of all categorise-able patterns (flawed theory)
  • Feature analysis/detection:- a vary simple patter, a fragment or component that can appear in combination with other features across a wide variety of stimulus patterns

Selfridge's Pandemonium model:- cognitive demons (in reading letter)

1. first data or (image demons) encode the pattern 2. Computational (feature demons) try to match simple features 3. (Cognitive Demons) try to match whole letter patterns 4. (Decisions demons) decide which letter is present.

  • A feature detection model
  • Parallel processing
  • A problem solving process
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Beyond Features:- Conceptually Driven Pattern Recognition

  • Data-driven processing system:- driven by stimulus pattern (the incoming data)
  • Conceptually-driven processing effects:- context and higher-level knowledge influence lower-level processes
  • Repetition Blindness:-not perceiving a pattern when it is quickly repeated (

Pattern Recognition starts by Processing the image (bottom up) however there is a (top down) influences of inbuilt cognitive knowledge (13 or B)

Connectionst Modeling:- (Computational Approach)

  • Input unit:- basic cell that receives inputs from the environment
  • Hidden units:- Completely internal, one step removed from input/output units connecting the two
  • Output Units:- stored knowledge of words which is compared in its features to the input to identify the word

Rumelhart and Mclelland (1986):- experiment where participants were shown a partially obscured word "WOR" and the last letter obscured in such a way that it could of been a "R" of a "K". people believed that the word way "WORK" as "WORR" is not a word due to output units

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Learning and Remembering

Memory can be categorized into types

  • declarative or explicit memory:- can be accessed consciously
  • None declarative or Implicit memory:- LTM. performance affected by prior experience with no conscious awareness of the influence
  • Episodic memory:- Tulvings term for LTM of personal experienced information (autobiographical LTM)
  • Semantic memory:- LEM in which general knowledge is stored
  • Working memory:- temporary memory involving currently active thoughts and processes
  • Declarative/Explicit memory:- Facts and events we are aware of
  • Non-declarative/implicit memory:- Skills, Habits, Priming, Classical Condition and Non-associative Learning
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Ebbinghaus (1885)

used himself as the subject in his self designed experiments and anticipated............... he wanted to know the fundamentals of remembering and forgetting without the influence of prior knowledge. His relearning task used a list of nonsense words that would be learnt in as many trails as it took and then tested again at certain intervals to see how many less trails it would take to re-learn resulting in a Saving Score

  • 1) first list learnt in 10 trails
  • 2) after time same list re-learnt in 6 trails
  • 3) results in a Saving Score of 40%

Forgetting Curve:-

  • immediate = 100%
  • 20 minuets = 59%
  • 1hr = 42%
  • 9hr = 39%
  • 1day = 30%
  • 2 day 22%
  • 6 day = 20%
  • 31 day = 17%
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Memory Task and Terminology

  • Relearning Task
    • Delay after learning the list
    • Learn the list a second time
    • results recorded in a Saving Score
  • Paired-Associate Learning
    • Paris of items (stimulus & response)are presented and studied. then stimulus items are shown and participant must respond correctly
    • trial is repeated until 100% recall recording the number of trails
  • Recall Task
    • Set of items are presented to be remembered
    • Optional delay or distractor task during delay
    • recall list or items in ether Free recall (items in any order) or Serial Recall (items recalled in order presented)
  • Recognition task (Episodic)
    • Learn a list of items
    • optional Delay
    • Make Yes/No decisions to item in the experimenter list
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Amnesia & Implicit Memory

Annesia:- Loss of memory or memory ability due to brain damaged of disease

  • Retrograde amnesia:- Loss of memory for events before onset
  • Anterograde Amnesia:- disruption of memory occurring after onset
  • Dissociation:- disruption in one component of the cognitive system but no impairment of another
  • Double Dissociation:- perfect in one cognitive function but not another and vice versa

Tulving (1989):- Dissociation in episodic and semantic memory. Patient K.C. after a brain injury seemed to completely lose his episodic memory. Functional imaging evidence:- Tulving acknowledged there are limitation to traditional cognitive psychology. brain scans indicate that normal brains and K.C.'s function differently showing frontal lobes are important for Time related Aspects of memory

Anterograde Amnesia:- H.M. had radical brain surgery that left him with Anterograde Amnesia his past memory's were intact however he was incapable of forming new one's however Blakemore (1977) produced evidence that his motor learning skills are intact implying Medial Temporal Area's expectantly the Hippo-campus are important for explicit memory but different structure underlie implicit memory

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Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic Device:- stragic learning Device or method (rehersal Stratges)

  • Formal M.D:- pre-established set of memory aids (peg system etc)
  • Informal M.D:- self invested system such as repeating something to your self
  • Strengths of M.D. include Important principals:-
    • Practiced repeatedly
    • Material is integrated into existing memory
    • Excellent means of retrieving information

Types of Mnemonic Devices:-

  • Method of Loci:- first mentioned M.D. placing mental representations of items in a memorized physical location. retrieval involves mental walk thought location
  • Peg Word:- per-memorised set of peg words linked with mental integration of items to be remembered
  • 3 Mnemonic principles
    • Structure for learning
    • Through visual imagery and rhymes M.D. help from durable memory
    • Effective Cue's for recall
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Relevance of items Distinctiveness

Von Restorff (1933):- Isolation Effect. Improving memory for one piece of information from that around it by making it distinct i.e. highlighting it or changing the colour. distinctiveness is a recurring theme in understanding memory function

Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968):- Rehearsal = Deliberate recycling or practicing of the content in the STM this maintains information in the STM from being lost and enhances the probability of it being stored in the LTM

Hellyer (1962):- demonstrated the impact of rehearsal on forgetting. the more you rehearse the better you retain, however the longer between rehearsals lessons your chances

Hebb (1961):- present stings of digits for recall

Morris et al. (2005):- Expanding retrieval practice improves memory

Rundus (1971):- Rehearsal is the factor Responsible for primacy effect

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Two kinds of Rehearsal

  • Maintenance Rehearsal/type 1:- repeating something to your self
  • Elaborative Rehearsal/type 2:- more complex uses the meaning of the information to help store and remember

Craik and Lockhart (1972):-Depth of Processing. Maintenance Rehearsal (shallow) is not processed as deep ignoring things such as meaning where deeper process like elaborate rehearsal. they believed that deeper processing resulted in better chances of remembering. Problems with theory

  • Defining levels independently of retention scores as well as defining and manipulating type 1 and 2 rehearsal
  • task effects arose, finding not consistent

Incidental Vs Intentional Learing:- participants asked to check of words with an E/Rhyme with Door/Name of an animal. moving from one task to another meant deeper procession. believing that learning would be incidental compared to a active remembering group Results = ??????????????????????????????

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Organisation in Memory

  • Organisation:- structuring or restructuring information as it is being stored
  • Chunking:-category grouping is another form chucking of information similar to Miller's (1956) famous units of info
  • Rehearsal Strategies:- Rehearsal and organisation are intimately related to the nature of recall from memory
  • Subjective organisation:- Organisation developed by the subject for structuring and remembering a list of items without experimenters- supplied categories.
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