Memory and Forgetting

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  • Created by: Lollipop
  • Created on: 10-01-13 10:40

Levels of Processing Theory

Type 1 - maintenance rehearsal - shallow processing - structural processing (how information looks) and phonetic processing (sound of information). This leads to short term memory

Type 2 - elaborative rehearsal  - deep processing - semntic processing ( meaning of information). This leads to a memory trace and long term memory.

Deeper processing = better memory and recall

  • S - Craik and Tulving, Hyde and Jenkins - better recall when words proccessed semantically
  • O - Depth of processing means more time is spent processing information which meakes memory stronger
  • D - Reconstructive memory - schemata fill in memory gaps
  • A - explains how memory works and how information is processed - aids teaching and revision techniques
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Reconstructive Memory

Memory is not like a tape recorder, it is not perfectly encoded, stored and retriveved so memory will not be the same as original when retrieved. Memory of an event includes information that happened at the time from traces and schemata.

Schemata are ideas about the world - expectations and rules about what to do

Gaps in memory automatically filled with schemata so memory is less accurate over time

  • S - Bartlett, Loftus and Palmer - recall is worse and story shorter over time as filled in gaps
  • O - Story didn't make sense so altered by demand characteristics
  • D - Levels of processing - deals with depth of processing
  • A - explains memory and eye witness testimony and how memory can be changed
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Cue Dependent

When a memory is encoded, other information that occurred around it is stored too

Memory trace - information encoded and stored

Context dependent - environment

State dependent - emotions and state of mind

Applies to long term  memory

Forgetting occurs if cues are not available at time of recall

  • S - Goodwin, Godden and Baddley - recall is better if recall occurs in same environment as learning environment
  • O - task is artifical  not normally completed so less valid
  • D - Trace Decay - engram's, not cues that affect forgetting and memory
  • A - Explains why forgetting occurs - aids teaching, apllies to eye witness testimony - better recall at crime scene
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Trace Decay

Long and short term memory

Memories have physcial trace that deteriorates over time and is lost

Memories are stored and an engram is made - memory trace

Engram can have neurological delay so is lost over time and forgetting occurs

Can renew trace by repeating and rehearsing information to reinstate engram

  • S - Reitmand, McKenna and Glendon - if rehearsal can't take place than memory trace will decay and forgetting occurs
  • O - difficult to measure in short term memory - new information can dispalce original material
  • A - explains forgetting and why it occurs - explain real life situatuions - Alzheimer's disease
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Craik and Tulving Study

Aim - to see if recall is better when words are semantically processed rather than structurally or phonetically processed


  • 24 participants, lab experiment, repeated measures design
  • 40 words flashed on screen by tachiscope after question asked
  • press button to answer tyes or no - equal number of each
  • Recognition task - 80 words - participants identify words in original task

Result - structural - 18%, phonetic - 50%, semantic - 80%

Conclusion - semantically processing words leads to better recall and takes more time to process

  • G - small smaple size - not representative of total population - lacks generalisability
  • R - lab experiment so standardised procedure and easily replicated and tested for reliability
  • A - supports theory and explains how memory works so aids teaching
  • V - lacks ecological - lab so artifical setting
  • E - adhere to guidelines - consent, debrief, competence 
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Godden and Baddley

Aim - to see if recall is better when recall environment is the same as learnign environement


  • 18 - 13 male, 5 female participants, field experiment
  • Scotland, 4 days, tested in pairs
  • 4 condtitions, repeated measures design
  • 36 words
  • Words played on tape recorder with list repeated once
  • 4 minute delay
  • participants write down words they can remember on paper in 2 minutes

Results - 37% and 32% recall in same envrionement, 23% and 24% in different environments

Conclusion - environment acts as a contextual cue as recall is better if takes place in same envrionment as learning

  • G - small smaple size - not representative of total population - lacks generalisability
  • R - standardised procedure so easily replicated and tested for reliablilty
  • A - explains how forgetting occurs and aids teaching, explains key issue - better recall at crime scene and supports theory
  • V - ecological - field experiment - natural setting
  • E - good  -competence, consent, debrief, right to withdraw
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