Psychology - Memory Key Terms

Key terms from the AS Psychology AQA A specification. 

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  • Created by: Phil
  • Created on: 29-12-12 21:37

Capacity

  • A measure of how much information can be held in memory.
  • Measured in terms of bits of information, such as numer of digits.
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Duration

  • A measure of how long a memory lasts before it is no longer available. 
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Encoding

  • The way information is changed so it can be stored in memory.
  • Information enters the brain via the senses (e,g. eyes and ears) and is then stored in various forms, such as visual codes (like a picture), acoustic forms (sounds), or a semantic form (the meaning of the experience). 
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Long Term Memory (LTM)

  • Memory for events that have happened in the past.
  • Lasts anywhere from 2 minutes to 100 years.
  • Potentially unlimited capactity.
  • Semantically encoded. 
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Short Term Memory (STM)

  • Memory for immediate events.
  • Lasts for a very short time and disappears unless it is rehearsed.
  • Sometimes refered to as the working memory.
  • Encoding - Acoustic.
  • Capacity - 7 +/- 2 chunks.
  • Duration - up to 18 seconds.
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Chunking

  • Miller proposed that the capacity of STM can be enhanced by grouping sets of digits or letters into meaningful units or 'chunks'.
  • For example, it is easier to remember 100 1000 10 10000 than 10010001010000.
  • Miller suggested that we can remember 7 +/- 2 chunks at a time. 
  • The size of a chunk may affect how many other chunks can be processed. 
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Digit Span Technique

  • A technique to assess the span of immediate (short-term) memory.
  • Participants are given progressively more digits in a list to see how many can be recalled. 
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Multi-Store Model (MSM)

  • An explanation of memory.
  • Based on three seperate memory stores. 
  • Shows how information is transferred between these stores. 
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Sensory Memory Store (SMS)

  • Information at the senses - informatin collected by your eyes, ears, nose, fingers and so on.
  • Information is reatined for a very brief period by the sensory registers (less than half a second)
  • Capacity of sensory memory is very large.
  • Method of encoding depends on the sense organ involved, i.e. visual for the eyes, acoustic for the ears.  
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Central Executive

  • Monitors and coordinates all other mental function in WM. 
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Episodic Buffer

  • Recieves input from many sources.
  • Temporarily stores this information.
  • Integrates it in order to construct a mental episode of what is being experience right now.
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Phonological Loop

  • Encodes speech sounds.
  • Involves maintenance rehearsal (repeating the words over and over again i.e. a loop).
  • Divided into phonological store (inner ear) and articulatory process (inner voice).
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Visuo-Spatial Sketchpad

  • Encodes visual information.
  • Divided into visual cache (stores information) and inner scribe (spatial relations). 
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Word-Length Effect

  • People remember lists of short words better than long words. 
  • Governed by the capacity of the phonological loop. 
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Working Memory Model (WMM)

  • An explanation of STM, called 'working memory'.
  • Based on 4 components, some with storage capacity. 
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Eyewitness Testimony (EWT)

  • The evidence provided in court by a person who witnessed a crime, with a view to idenitfying the perpetrator of hte crime. 
  • The accuracy of eyewitness recall may be affected during intitial encoding, subsequent storage and eventual retrieval. 
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Leading (Misleading) Questions

  • A question that, either by its form or content, suggests to the witness what answer is desired, or leads him to the desired answer.
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Post-Event Information

  • Information given to  witness after the event.
  • Such as a leading question.
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Anxiety

  • A nervous emotional state where we fear that something unpleasant is about to happen. 
  • People often become anxious when they are in stressful situations. 
  • Anxiety tends to be accompanied by physiological arousal (e.g. a pounding heart and rapid shallow breathing). Therefore research in this area is often focused on the effects of arousal. 
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Cognitive Interview

  • A police technique for interviewing witnesses to a crime.
  • Based on what psychologists have found out about memory.
  • Because our memory is made up of a network of associations rather than of discrete events, memories are best accessed using multiple retrieval strategies. 
  • Unlike a standard interview, the CI encourages witnesses to recreate the original context so as to increase the accessibility of stored information.
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