PSY101 Chapter 8

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  • Created on: 19-01-16 17:37
Any day, any detail, any face: she can recall it
A Hollywood actress who can remember every fact of her daily life over the past 40 years is baffling scientists. She can remember every day of the past four decades as if it were yesterday.
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What you should be able to do after reading chapter 8
Describe what is meant by 'memory' and describe the different types of memory process; describe and understand theories of forgetting
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Questions to think about
What do we mean when we refer to 'memory'? Are there different types of memory? Why do we forget? Can memories be manipulated and, if so, how?
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Memory: an introduction
Memory is the process of encoding, storing retrieving information. Encoding refers to the active process of putting stimulus information into a form that can be used by our memory system.
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Types of memory
Research suggests that we possess at least four forms of memory; sensory memory, short-term memory, working memory and long-term memory (Baddeley, 1996).
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Sensory memory
Under most circumstances, we are not aware of sensory memory. Information we have just perceived remains in sensory memory just long enough to be transferred to short-term memory.
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Iconic memory
Visual sensory memory, called iconic memory (icon means 'image'), is a form of sensory memory that briefly holds a visual representation of a scene that has just been perceived.
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Echoic memory
Auditory sensory memory, called echoic memory, is a form of sensory memory for sounds that have just been perceived. It is necessary for comprehending many sounds, particularly those that constitute speech.
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Short-term memory (STM)
Short-term memory (STM) has a limited capacity, and most of the information that enters it is subsequently forgotten. Information in sensory memory enters STM, where is may be rehearsed for a while.
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Working memory
The fact that short-term memory contains both new information and information from long-term memory has led some psychologists to prefer the term 'working memory' (Baddeley and Hitch, 1974; Baddeley, 1986).
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The components of working memory
Working memory was a model devised in the 1970s and later developed extensively by the British psychologists Alan Baddeley and Graham Hitch.
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Phonological working memory
When we see a printed word, we say it, out loud or silently. If it is said to ourselves, circuits of neurons that control articulation are activated.
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Visuospatial working memory
Much of the information we process is non-verbal. We recognise objects, perceive their locations and find our way around our environment. We can look at objects, close our eyes and then sketch or describe them.
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The central executive
The above elements - the phonological loop and the visuospatial scratchpad - do not work independently but have to be regulated and supervised, via the central executive subsystem (Baddeley, 1986.).
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How does working memory work?
Apart from allowing us to do the activities mentioned in the previous sections, working memory is also important for cognitive functions such as reading comprehension, academic ability and mathematics.
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Primacy and recency effects
When individuals are asked to listen to a long list of words spoken one at a time and then write down as many as they can remember (a free recall task), most participants will remember the words at the beginning and the end of the list.
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The limits of short-term and working memory
How long does information remain in short-term or working memory? The answer may lie in a classic study by Lloyd and Margaret Peterson (Peterson and Peterson, 1959).
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Loss of information from short-term memory
The essence of short-term memory is its transience; hence, its name. Information enters from sensory memory and from long-term memory, is rehearsed, thought about, modified and then leaves.
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Learning and encoding in long-term memory
What allows memory to move from short-term to long-term memory? Memory involves both active and passive processes.
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The consolidation hypothesis
The traditional view of memory is that it consists of a two-stage process (not counting sensory memory). Information enters short-term memory from the environment, where it is stored temporarily.
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Levels of processing
Craik and Lockhart (1972) have pointed out that the act of rehearsal may effectively keep information in short-term memory but does not necessarily result in the establishment of long-term memories.
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Encoding specificity
Encoding specificity refers to the principle that the way in which we encode information determines our ability to retrieve it later. For example, suppose that someone reads you a list of words that you are to recall later.
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Mnemonics and memory aids
When we can imagine information vividly and concretely, and when it fits into the context of what we already know, it is easy to remember later.
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Method of loci
In Greece before the sixth century BC, few people knew how to write, and those who did had to use cumbersome clay tablets.
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Narrative stories
Another useful aid to memory is to place information into a narrative, in which items to be remembered are linked together by a story. Bower and Clark (1969) showed that even inexperienced people can use this method.
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'Smart' drugs
In recent years, pharmaceutical companies have become excited at the possibility that drugs may help improve memory or reduce the decline in memory performance seen with normal ageing or in people with probable Alzheimer's disease.
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Long-term memory: episodic and semantic memory
Long-term memory contains more than exact records of sensory information that has been perceived. It also contains information that has been transformed - organised in terms of meaning.
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Memory - An international perspective
There seem to be real differences in the content of the autobiographical memories of people from different cultures.
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Episodic memory across the ages
Based on a reading and understanding of the anatomical and physiological changes and reorganisation that occur in the brain during development - in childhood and old age - Shing et al. (2010)
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Explicit and implicit memory
Another distinction is made between explicit and implicit memory. Explicit memory refers to memory for information we were aware of learning.
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Remembering
Remembering is an automatic process. The word 'automatic' means 'acting by itself'. But this definition implies that no special effort is involved. What is automatic is the retrieval of information from memory in response to the appropriate stimulus.
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Describe what is meant by 'memory' and describe the different types of memory process; describe and understand theories of forgetting

Back

What you should be able to do after reading chapter 8

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What do we mean when we refer to 'memory'? Are there different types of memory? Why do we forget? Can memories be manipulated and, if so, how?

Back

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Card 4

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Memory is the process of encoding, storing retrieving information. Encoding refers to the active process of putting stimulus information into a form that can be used by our memory system.

Back

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Card 5

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Research suggests that we possess at least four forms of memory; sensory memory, short-term memory, working memory and long-term memory (Baddeley, 1996).

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