Lectures 11 and 12: Remembering and Forgetting

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How can we measure forgetting?
Recall test: free, cued or serial. Recognition test: discriminate old from new items.
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How can we describe forgetting?
A mathematical function of the retention interval. An orderly process.
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What causes forgetting?
Decay BUT also, retrieval failure - not correct prompts/cues at that time.
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Does longer retention interval increase forgetting?
Not necessarily - flashbulb memories - Diana, 9/11, emotionally intense. Teachers forget student names not because they FORGOT, because there was INTERFERENCE and their names got replaced by new students.
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How can we test interference from decay?
Control interval or experiences over time - if forget due to interference then they will have had high exposure to similar stuff.
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How are time and intervening predictors of forgetting?
Retrieval failure - rugby team forget some matches because others are more memorable
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What are the factors influencing retrieval?
Processing at encoding. Consolidation after encoding. Interference. Similarity.
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How can we organise material to learn it effectively at the start?
Processing the meaning of the material. e.g. Mandler - three groups, G1 and G2 arrange cards into categories, G1 told to learn them (no difference in recall). G3 told to put in columns and learn - worst recall of all groups
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How can we learn material so that it is easier to retrieve?
Craik and Tulving: had three tasks: is it upper or lower case? Does it rhyme with? Does it fit into this sentence? Those who processed meaning and identified if it would fit into a sentence recalled more words.
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What do mnemonics demonstrate, and how?
Elaboration at acquisition helps. Sequence (PEG) = one- bun, two-shoe. Loci = walk a path and associate material with areas of journey.
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Why do mnemonics work?
Bind and organise ideas. Imagery helps memory formation. Forces exhaustive retrieval attempts.
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Explain the effects of brain injury on consolidation.
Phase 1: injury results in loss of memory for mins-hours. Injury disrupts consolidation after encoding. Injury can disturb hippocampus = forgetting. Phase 2 = longer time. more recent memories more vulnerable to hippocampal damage.
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Explain associative interference at retrieval and give an example.
Competition between memories: high competition when similar info is learned. "Fan Effect" (Lewis and Anderson) - told fans new facts about their celeb, took longer to make decisions as to whether statements were true/ false. Forgot some initial info
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How can we limit the effect of associative interference?
If new info is thematically related, fan effect is eliminated. Learner can form new associations with facts from existing schemas, providing retrieval paths.
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Explain remembering as reconstruction
Bartlett: War of Ghosts: we interpret learned schemas and fill in blanks of what we cannot remember.
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What is controversial about recovered memories?
Parents to court for abuse, you will remember some not true memories as you piece together things you experienced with things you did not. Source amnesia= fragments of actual experience combined with other info and source is lost (shown in Bartlett)
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What does the experiment of Loftus and Palmer signify?
Manipulation of language used (describing car) is incorporated into recollection of event. Harsher word meant pps thought they saw broken glass.
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What are context effects and encoding specificity?
Info is more easily retrieved if it is tested in the same context it was acquired in. ES is causal in depression: negative memories more easily recalled in depressed state, and recall reinforces depression
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What are concepts and categories?
Areas of representation in semantic memory. Concepts are mental representations of categories that enable us to predict future instance from past experience. Conceptual hierarchies e.g. animals ---> mammals/insects ---> features ---> example.
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What are retrieval time and verification time influenced by?
Retrieval time = number of links to category. Verification time = when concept acquired, familiarity, typicality.
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Give examples of how conceptual hierarchies are learnt at a basic level.
Children learn at basic level. Adults describe and name at basic level. Languages have single words for basic ideas.
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What is the classical view of how we make memories and what are the problems?
Aristotle - have lists of features for mental definition: necessary features = square has four sides, essential features = all have to be equal. Problems: concept is more than a list, typicality effects etc.
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What is typicality and how does it affect performance?
More likely to name typical members e.g. robin instead of chicken. Affects RT for category decisions.
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What is the modern feature-list theory?
We have weighted features, more typical have more weight. Boundaries between categories are fuzzy though.
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What is the prototype theory?
There is an average or ideal member of each category, if more similar to prototype then accommodated in that category.
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What are exemplar theories?
We compute similarity between new stimulus and stored instance. Assign stimulus to category with most similarity.
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What are the experiments on learning of novel categories?
Artificial Category learning - Posner and Keele - prototype was categorised faster and more accurately.
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Card 2


How can we describe forgetting?


A mathematical function of the retention interval. An orderly process.

Card 3


What causes forgetting?


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Card 4


Does longer retention interval increase forgetting?


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Card 5


How can we test interference from decay?


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