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Memory. How do we retain information? How do we recall information? What is short term and long term memory? Why do we forget? How can we learn and remember better? How reliable is eyewitness testimony?. 3 Steps. Information Processing M odel. Compares our mind to a computer

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How do we retain information?

How do we recall information?

What is short term and long term memory?

Why do we forget?

How can we learn and remember better?

How reliable is eyewitness testimony?

3 steps

3 Steps

Information processing m odel

Information Processing Model

  • Compares our mind to a computer

    • Information is encoded when sensory receptors send impulses to neurons in the brain

    • We store (retain) information for a period of time

      • How long do we store information and what kind of information is stored?

    • Retrieve information on demand

Levels of information processing

Levels of Information Processing

  • How long and how well do we remember information?

    • Shallow processing: no associations are made, we remember physical characteristics such as lines and curves

      • Traffic passes by. Do you remember the specific cars?

    • Semantic encoding: emphasizes meaning of verbal input (words, speech)

    • Deep processing: attach meaning to information

      • Create associations between new memories and existing memories (elaboration)

        • Example of deep processing – I drive by in a black Chevy Camaro (your favorite car) with bright blue LED lights (your favorite color) which was just advertised on TV (which you watch all the time) & I have a Gators license plate (your favorite college)

3 stage model 3 different m emory s ystems

3 Stage Model – 3 Different Memory Systems

  • Sensory memory: events from our senses are held just long enough for perception to occur

  • Short-term memory (STM): holds a limited amount of information for about 30 seconds

    • Capacity of STM is about 7 (plus or minus 2) items

  • Long-term memory (LTM): permanent and unlimited capacity

    • Explicit memory:facts and experiences

      • Semantic memory – general knowledge

      • Episodic memory – personally relevant events

    • Implicit memory: skills and procedures (procedural memory)

      • “You never forget how to ride a bike”

How can we get around stm l imitations

How Can We Get Around STM Limitations?

  • Well, we could put information into LTM instead, but do we really need to remember everything forever?

  • Rehearsal – consciously repeating the information

    • More rehearsal increases retention

  • Chunking – grouping info into meaningful units (e.g. a word rather than letters, date rather than #s)

Selective attention processing

Selective Attention & Processing

Selective attention: focusing of awareness on a specific stimulus in sensory memory (e.g. watching your favorite TV show while someone is talking to you)

Automatic processing: unconscious encoding

Effortful processing: encoding that requires attention and conscious effort

Ltm organization

LTM Organization

  • Hierarchies: concepts arranged from general to specific

  • Concepts: mental representations of related things

    • Prototypes – most typical examples of the concept (What does a bird look like?)

  • Semantic networks: systems of concepts with links to each other (e.g. concept map)

  • Schemas: mental frameworks

    • Scripts – schemas for specific events

      • When you walk into a classroom and the bell rings, what do you do?

Long term p otentiation ltp

Long-Term Potentiation (LTP)

  • Learning involves the strengthening of neural connections at the synapses

  • Increase in efficiency & speed with which signals are sent across synapses

    • Flashbulb memory: vivid memory of an emotionally arousing event

      • Where were you when the Twin Towers went down on 9/11?



Anterograde Amnesia

Retrograde Amnesia

Inability to form new semantic (general knowledge) & explicit memories

Inability to recall past memories

What helps us remember

What helps us remember?

  • Retrieval cues – reminders associated with information we are trying to recall (e.g. words or phrases)

  • Priming – activating specific associations

    • Retrieval cues PRIME our memory

  • Distributed practicevs. cramming

  • Mnemonic devices

  • Method of loci – visualization of places to help remember words on a list

  • Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon

Memory interference

Memory Interference

Proactive Interference

Retroactive Interference

When something we learned EARLIER disrupts recall of something we learn LATER

New learning disrupts OLD recall

Freudian theory source amnesia

Freudian Theory & Source Amnesia

  • Repression: unconscious forgetting of painful memories as a defense mechanism to minimize anxiety

  • Misattribution error (source amnesia)

    • How reliable is eye-witness testimony?

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