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the phenomenology of short term memory

“There seems to be a presence-chamber in my mind where full consciousness holds court, and where two or three ideas are at the same time in audience, and and antechamber full of more of less allied ideas, which is situated just beyond the full ken of consciousness. Out of this antechamber, the ideas most readily allied to those in the presence-chamber appear to be summoned in a mechanically logical way, and have their turn of audience.”

-- Francis Galton (1883)

“The objects we feel in this directly intuited past differ from properly recollected objects. An object which is recollected, in the proper sense of the term, is one which has been absent from consciousness altogether, and now revived anew… But an object of primary memory in not thus brought back; it was never lost -- its date was never cut off in consciousness from that of the immediately present moment. In fact, it comes to us as belonging to the rerward portion of the present space of time, and not to the genuine past.”

-- William James (1890)

THE PHENOMENOLOGYOF SHORT-TERM MEMORY
measuring the duration of short term memory peterson peterson 1959
MEASURING THE DURATION OF SHORT-TERM MEMORY(Peterson & Peterson, 1959)

Task: rcall a 3-consonant trigram after a brief interval of distraction (so, the ‘distractor” task)

. . . . . . . . . .

?

XVK

294

“291, 288, uh, 285, 282..”

“x,v,..g?”

retention interval

3 to 18 seconds

memory structures and processes in the modal model atkinson shiffrin 1968
MEMORY STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES INTHE “MODAL MODEL”(Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968)

SENSORY REGISTERS

sensory

inputs

visual

tactile

auditory

SHORT-TERM STORE (STS)

temporary, working memory

control processes:

- rehearsal

- coding

- decisions

- retrieval strategies

LONG-TERM STORE (LTS)

permanent memory store

clinical dissociations of short and long term memory
CLINICAL DISSOCIATIONS of SHORT and LONG-TERM MEMORY
  • Damage to medial temporal lobes
    • Hippocampus in particular
  • The “classic amnestic syndrome”
    • HM: surgical removal
    • Clive Wearing: Encephalitis
    • Other causes of the amnestic syndrome
slide5

STM

LTM

CHARACTERISTICS OFSHORT- AND LONG-TERM MEMORY(according to the “modal model” of Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968)
  • DURATION< 30 sec lifetime
  • CAPACITY ~7 chunks unlimited
  • RETRIEVAL serial parallel
  • FORGETTING decay, dis- interference placement
  • MAIN CODE acoustic- semantic articulatory
stm capacity and ltm codes
STM CAPACITY AND LTM CODES

task: immediate serial recall (“memory span”)

Miller (1956): capacity of STM as

“about seven chunks”

1 4 9 2 1 7 7 6 1 9 4 5 1 9 6 3 . . .

F B IJ F KF D RL B J

stm capacity and rehearsal time baddeley et al 1975
STM CAPACITY ANDREHEARSAL TIMEBaddeley et al., 1975

Number of syllables Reading Rate

1 mumps 2.2 words/sec

2 measles2.0 “

3 leprosy 1.7 “

4 diphtheria 1.5 “

5 tuberculosis1.3 “

task: immediate serial recall of 6-item lists

the word length effect

stm capacity and the recency effect
STM CAPACITY AND THE RECENCY EFFECT

Task: free recall of word lists

Primacy effect:

better recall of first few words

Recency effect:

better recall of last few words

Glanzer & Cunitz (1966): distraction between study and test eliminates recency effect:

retrieval from stm sternberg 1966
RETRIEVAL FROM STM(Sternberg, 1966)

varied set of digits held in STM

2, 5, 8, 1

test digit: is it in the set?

2 yes

7 no

proactive interference in stm keppel underwood 1962

STUDY PHASE

TEST PHASE

STM in the distractor task:

PROACTIVE INTERFERENCEIN STM(Keppel & Underwood, 1962)

things learned prior to study can proactively interfere with memory

things learned between study and test can retroactively interfere with memory

dominant codes in stm and ltm baddeley 1966
DOMINANT CODES IN STM AND LTMBaddeley, 1966

Acoustically similar lists

mad, plan, nap, bag….

Semantically similar lists

big, large, huge, great…

Control lists

pen, day, wish, bill….

% words in correct

TYPE OF SERIAL position

RECALL TASK:

A S C

STM: 5 words,

one trial, no delay __% __% 76%

LTM: 10 words,

four trials, delay __% __% 72%

dissociating verbal and visual skills hunt 1985
DISSOCIATING VERBAL AND VISUAL SKILLSHunt, 1985

task: reading comprehension scores

correlate performance with tests of...

vocabulary +.67

grammar +.63

mechanical

reasoning+.33

spatial thinking+.14

ways to distinguish verbal and visual codes in memory
WAYS TO DISTINGUISH VERBALAND VISUAL CODES IN MEMORY
  • PSYCHOMETRIC
    • Patterns of correlations among visual and verbal tasks (e.g., Hunt, 1985)
  • NEUROLOGICAL
    • Functional asymmetries of the cerebral hemispheres:
      • Left H: speech and language
      • Right H: visual, spatial coding
    • Brain activity during imaging versus rehearsing
  • EXPERIMENTAL
    • Selective interference among tasks (e.g., Brooks 1968)
visual and verbal codes in stm logie zucco baddeley 1990
VISUAL AND VERBAL CODES IN STM (Logie, Zucco & Baddeley, 1990)
  • STM tasks:
    • Checkerboard array span
    • Letter list span
  • Concurrent tasks:
    • Maintain visual image
    • Mental arithmetic
mental rotation of block forms shepard metzler 1971
“MENTAL ROTATION” OF BLOCK FORMS(Shepard & Metzler, 1971)

task: decide if two figures are the same

the linear function suggests a mental process that’s analogous to physical rotation

components of working memory baddeley 1990
COMPONENTS OF WORKING MEMORY(Baddeley, 1990)

(Random letter generation)

Central executive

(attentional control)

Phonological

loop

Visual-spatial

sketchpad

(Repetitive

articulation)

(Repetitive

keying)

working memory and chess robbins 1996
WORKING MEMORY AND CHESS (Robbins, 1996)

Primary task:recall of

chess piece positions

Secondary tasks:

N None

P articulate “the, the..”

V execute 4x4 key pattern

CE generate random letters

Mean correct recall

(max = 20)

NP V CE

individual differences in working memory
INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCESIN WORKING MEMORY
  • Establish the “working memory span”
    • E.g., sentence span

Up to five of:We were fifty miles out at sea before we lost sight of land.TRAIL

Serial recall of final words

  • Correlate with target cognitive task(s)
    • Verbal SAT (+.59) Daneman & Carpenter ’80
    • Distractibility in shadowing (Conway et al)
    • Interference in STM Distractor task (Engle)