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Chapter 8 Memory. The Importance of Memory. Memory: Some Key Terms.

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Chapter 8 Memory

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Chapter 8 memory l.jpg

Chapter 8Memory

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The Importance of Memory


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Memory: Some Key Terms

  • Memory: Active system that stores, organizes, alters, and recovers (retrieves) information

  • Encoding: Converting information into a useable form

  • Storage: Holding this information in memory for later use

  • Retrieval: Taking memories out of storage

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Fig. 8-1, p. 252

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Is memory like a video recording?


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Sensory Memory

  • Sensory memory: Storing an exact copy of incoming information for a few seconds or less (either what is seen or heard); the first stage of memory

  • Iconic memory: A mental image or visual representation

  • Echoic memory: After a sound is heard, a brief continuation of the activity in the auditory system

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Short-Term Memory (STM)

  • Storing small amounts of information briefly

    • Working memory: Part of STM; like a mental “scratchpad”

    • Selective attention: Focusing (voluntarily) on a selected portion of sensory input (e.g., selective hearing)

    • Phonetically: Storing information by sound; how most things are stored in STM

  • Very sensitive to interruption or interference

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Long-Term Memory (LTM)

  • Storing meaningful information relatively permanently

  • Stored on basis of meaning and importance

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Fig. 8-2, p. 253

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Flashbulb Memories

  • Memories created during times of personal tragedy, accident, or other emotionally significant events

    • Where were you when you heard that terrorists had attacked the USA on September 11th, 2001?

  • Includes both positive and negative events

  • Not always accurate

  • Great confidence is placed in them even though they may be inaccurate

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Memory and the Brain


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Memory Structures

  • Hippocampus: Brain structure associated with emotion and transfer of information passing from short-term memory into long-term memory

    • If damaged, person can no longer “create” long-term memories and thus will always live in the present

    • Memories prior to damage will remain intact

    • What happens in the brains of people with long-term depression?

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Short-Term Memory Concepts

  • Digit span: Test of attention and short-term memory; string of numbers is recalled forward or backward

  • Magic number 7 (±2): STM is limited to holding seven (plus or minus two) information bits at once

    • Information bit: Meaningful single piece of information, like numbers or letters

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More Short-Term Memory Concepts

  • Recoding: Reorganizing or modifying information to assist storage in memory

    • Information chunks: Bits of information that are grouped into larger units


    • Easier when you can create meaningful chunks, such as:

      • A D L O R B U G (OR and BUG)

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Maintenance Rehearsal

  • Repeating information silently to prolong its presence in STM

  • Remember rote learning from Chapter 7. Is this the best way to learn?

  • What would be a better way? (Let’s look ahead)

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Elaborative Encoding

  • Links new information with existing memories and knowledge in LTM

    • Good way to transfer STM information into LTM

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Long-Term Memory Concepts

  • Constructive processing: Updating memories on basis of logic, reasoning, or adding new information

  • Pseudo-memories: False memories that a person believes are true or accurate

    • What is a “memory jam”?

  • Network model: views memory as an organized system of linked information (Figure 8.5, p. 259)

    • Arranged by rules, images, categories, symbols, similarity, formal meaning, personal meaning

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Fig. 8-5, p. 259

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Fig. 8-3, p. 256

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Cognitive Interview

  • Use of various cues and strategies to improve eyewitness memory

  • Example: recreate a crime scene to stimulate “retrieval cues”

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Memory Distortion


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Fig. 8-4a, p. 258

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Fig. 8-4b, p. 258

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  • Memories that are reconstructed or expanded by starting with one memory and then following chains of association to related memories

  • What happened on your wedding day (or another important date)? What happened before and after that day?

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Types of Long-Term Memories

  • Procedural (skills): Long-term memories of conditioned responses and learned skills (e.g., driving, building a tree house, making lasagna)

  • Declarative (fact): Part of LTM that contains factual information

    • Expressed in words or symbols

    • Can be divided into semantic and episodic memory

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Subparts of Declarative Memory

  • Semantic memory: Includes impersonal facts and everyday knowledge

    • A basic dictionary of human knowledge

    • Very lasting and usually not forgotten

    • Examples: names of objects, days of the weeks or months, seasons, simple math skills, work and language

  • Episodic: Includes personal experiences linked with specific times and places

    • “Autobiographical” in nature

    • More susceptible to forgetting than semantic memories

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Fig. 8-7, p. 260

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Measuring Memory: Is it an all-or-nothing phenomenon? NO.

  • Tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) state: Feeling that a memory is available but not quite retrievable

  • Feeling of knowing: Feeling that allows people to predict beforehand whether they’ll be able to remember something

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Deja vu

  • “Déjà vu is the illusion that you have already experienced a new situation that you are actually seeing for the first time. . . . Déjà vu occurs when a new experience triggers vague memories of a past experience without yeilding any details. The new experience seems familiar even though the older memory is too weak to rise to the level of awareness.”-Text: page 261

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Memory Tasks: Ways of Measuring MemoryRecall, Recognition & Relearning

  • Recall: Direct retrieval of facts or information

    • Easier to remember first and last items in a list

    • Hardest to recall items in the middle of an ordered list; known as the serial position effect

    • Let’s check this out!

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Measuring Memory Continued

  • Recognition memory: Previously learned material is correctly identified (especially accurate with pictures and photos)

    • Usually superior to recall

  • Distractors: False items included with a correct item

    • Wrong choices on multiple-choice tests due to being too similar to the correct choice

  • False positive: False sense of recognition, usually when not enough choices are provided

    • How could this impact eye-witness identification?

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More on Measuring Memory

  • Relearning: Learning again something that was previously learned

    • Used to measure memory of prior learning

  • Savings score: measuring tool for relearning. Amount of time saved when relearning information

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Measuring Memory Concluded

  • Explicit memory: Past experiences that are consciously brought to mind

    • Recall, recognition and tests at school rely on explicit memories

  • Implicit memory: A memory not known to exist; memory that is unconsciously retrieved

    • Such as the knowing the keys on a keyboard

  • Priming: When cues are used to activate hidden memories

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p. 266

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  • Most forgetting occurs directly after memorization

  • Can be due to a failure in encoding, storage or retrieval processes

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Forgetting: Encoding Failure

  • Encoding failure: When a memory was never formed in the first place

    • Often due to divided attention

    • Actively thinking or attending can prevent encoding failure

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Fig. 8-12, p. 265

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Forgetting: Storage Failure

  • Memory traces: Physical changes in nerve cells or brain activity that occur when memories are stored

  • Memory decay: When memory traces become weaker; fading or weakening of memories

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Forgetting: Retrieval failure

  • Cue Dependent Forgetting: Aperson will forget if cues are missing at retrieval time

    • Memory cue: Any stimulus associated with a memory; usually enhances retrieval of a memory

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More retrieval failure

  • State-Dependent Learning: When memory retrieval is influenced by bodily state at time of learning; if your body state is the same at the time of learning AND the time of retrieval, retrievals will be improved

    • If Robert is drunk and forgets where his car is parked, it may be easier to recall the location if he gets drunk again!

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Fig. 8-13, p. 267

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More retrieval failures: Interference

  • Retroactive interference: Tendency for new memories to interfere with retrieval of old memories

  • Proactive interference: Prior learning inhibits (interferes with) recall of later learning

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Fig. 8-14, p. 268

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Fig. 8-16, p. 268

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More than simply forgetting: Dimentia


  • Causes of dimentia:

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These impact retrieval too: Transfer of Training

  • Positive transfer: Mastery of one task aids learning or performing another

    • Example: Learning to play violin faster because you already plan mandolin

    • Example: Surfing and skateboarding

  • Negative transfer: Mastery of one task conflicts with learning or performing another

    • Example: Backing up a car with a trailer using the same strategy you would use to simply back up a car

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Retrieval failures:Repression and Suppression

  • Repression: Unconsciously pushing painful, embarrassing, or threatening memories out of awareness/consciousness

    • Motivated forgetting

  • Suppression: Consciously putting something painful or threatening out of mind or trying to keep it from entering awareness

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Memory Formation

  • Consolidation: Forming a long-term memory in the brain

    • this takes some time

  • Retrograde Amnesia: Forgetting events that occurred before an injury or trauma

    • Often from head injury

  • Anterograde Amnesia: Forgetting events that follow an injury or trauma

    • Often from head injury

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Eidetic Imageryaka “photographic memory”

  • Occurs when a person (usually a child) has visual images clear enough to be scanned or retained for at least 30 seconds

  • Usually projected onto a “plain” surface, like a blank piece of paper

  • Usually disappears during adolescence and is rare by adulthood

  • Rome in three days:

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Ways to Improve Memory:Encoding Strategies

  • Spaced practice: Alternating short study sessions with brief rest periods

  • Massed practice: Studying for long periods without rest periods

  • Sleep aids consolidation

    • Lack of sleep decreases retention

  • Hungerdecreases retention

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Ways to Improve Memory (Cont)

  • Selection: Selecting most important concepts to memorize

  • Organization: Organizing difficult items into chunks; a type of reordering

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Ways to Improve Memory Concluded

  • Whole Learning: Studying an entire package of information at once, like a poem

  • Part Learning: Studying subparts of a larger body of information (like text chapters)

  • Overlearning: Studying is continued beyond bare mastery

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Retrieval Strategies

  • Knowledge of Results: Feedback allowing you to check your progress

  • Recitation: Summarizing aloud while you are learning

  • Rehearsal: Reviewing information mentally (silently)

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Mnemonics: Memory “Tricks”

  • Any kindof memory system or aid

    • Use mental pictures

    • Make things meaningful

    • Make information familiar

    • Form bizarre, unusual, or exaggerated mental associations

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Using Mnemonics to Remember Things in Order

  • Form a chain or story: Remember lists in order, forming an exaggerated association connecting item one to two, and so on

  • Take a mental walk: Mentally walk along a familiar path, placing objects or ideas along the path

  • Use a system

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Keyword Method

  • Aid to memory; using a familiar word or image to link two items

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