MEMORY Phenomenon of Memory Phenomenon of Memory Information Processing Model – like a computer, our brain encodes (gets info into brain), stores (retains info there), and retrieves (later gets info out) information from memory The brain is slower than a computer, but can perform many more tasks at once • Memory – the persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information
Information Processing Models Information Processing Models Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) had the following (somewhat limited)model: 1. Sensory Memory: contains “soon-to-be-remembered” info 2. Short-Term Memory: next step where info is encoded through rehearsal 3. Long-Term Memory: info is eventually stored for later retrieval • Connectionism – a modern model of info processing, it views memories as emerging from interconnected neural networks • Specific memories result from different activation patterns within these networks
Information Processing Models Encoding: Getting Info In Automatic Processing – unconscious encoding of incidental information, such as space, time, and frequency, and of well-learned information, such as word meanings Info related to space, time, frequency, and well-learned info occurs automatically • Modifications to earlier model: • 1. Some information is processed directly into long-term memory • 2. Working Memory (Short-Term Memory) concentrates on the active processing of information; it associates new and old information and solves problems
Encoding: Getting Info In Encoding: Getting Info In Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) – German philosopher who discovered the amount of information remembered depends on the time spent learning; over learning increases retention practice makes perfect “Ebbinghaus Retention Curve” • Effortful Processing – encoding that requires attention and conscious effort • Often produces durable and accessible memories • Rehearsal – conscious repetition of information, either to maintain it in consciousness or to encode it for storage
Encoding: Getting Info In Encoding: Getting Info In Testing Effect – repeated quizzing of previously studied material helps in retaining information longer Serial Position Effect – our tendency to recall best the last and first items in a list Primacy Effect – first items Recency Effect– last items • “Those who learn quickly also forget quickly.” • Hermann Ebbinghaus • Spacing Effect – distributed study or practice yields better results than does massed study or practice
What We Encode What We Encode Compared with learning nonsense syllables, learning meaningful material required 1/10 the effort according to Ebbinghaus Amount of information remembered depends on: Time spent learning Your making it meaningful • When encoding, our working memories interact with our long-term memories • Visual Encoding – images • Acoustic Encoding – sounds • Semantic Encoding – meanings (*best type of encoding to help remember words later)
What We Encode What We Encode Our earliest memories (from age 3-4) involved visual imagery When we encode things both semantically and visually we tend to remember them better; two codes are better than one • Self-Reference Effect – information deemed “relevant to me” is processed more deeply and remains more accessible
What We Encode What We Encode Chunking – organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically (usually seen as letters, words, or phrases) We all remember information best when we personally organize it into meaningful arrangements • Rosy Retrospection: recalling the high points while forgetting the mundane • Mnemonics – memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices • Peg word system pairs a number with a rhyming name: one is bun, two is shoe, etc.
What We Encode What We Encode Organize and group what you study; you will retain it better • Chunking (acronyms) • ROYGBIV = red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet • HOMES = Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior • Hierarchies also help to organize information • Hierarchies = layered information
Storage: Retaining Information Storage: Retaining Information Echoic Memory – a momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; if attention is elsewhere, sounds and words can still be recalled within 3 or 4 seconds Auditory echoes tend to linger for 3-4 seconds • George Sperling (1960) – showed that we all have a temporary photographic memory called iconic memory • Iconic Memory – a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli; a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a few tenths of a second
Working/Short-Term Memory Working/Short-Term Memory George Miller’s (1956) Magical Number Seven (plus or minus two) – number of bits of information capable of being stored in our STM • Unless working memory meaningfully encodes or rehearses information, it is quickly lost • Without active processing, short-term memories have a limited life
Working/Short-Term Memory Long-Term Memory Our capacity for storing long-term memories is essentially limitless Memories DO NOT reside in single, specific spots Elizabeth Loftus (1980) – said “our whole past is not IN THERE” in reference to the brain; we invent or reconstruct memories • Our short term recall is better for random digits than for letters • Better for what we hear than what we see • Recall as many words as we can speak in 2 seconds • Short-term memory can hold fewer signs (sign language) than spoken words • We can only retain about 4 information chunks without rehearsal
Storing Memories in the Brain Memory Boosting Drugs Boost protein CREB, which can switch genes off or on With repeated neural firing, a nerve cell’s genes produce synapse-strengthening proteins enabling LTP Sea slugs, mice, fruit flies with enhanced CREB have enhanced memories • Increased synaptic efficiency makes for more efficient neural circuits • Sea Slug releases more serotonin at synapses, making signal transmission efficient • Long-Term Potentiation (LTP) – an increase in a synapse’s firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation. Believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory.
Memory Boosting Drugs Memory ECT – Electroconvulsive Therapy – biomedical therapy for severely depressed patients where a brief electric current is sent through the brain of an anesthetized patient Most recent memories are lost; working memory had no time to consolidate information into long-term memory Similar to getting knocked out • Glutamate – a neurotransmitter that enhances synaptic communication (LTP) • Sleep is still a great memory enhancer (Study followed by sleep is best)
Stress Hormones Stress Hormones Amygdala boosts activity and available proteins in brain’s memory-forming areas. Memory of neutral events around the same time are disrupted • When excited or stressed, emotion-triggered stress hormones make more glucose available to fuel brain activity, signaling the brain that something important has happened.
Stress Hormones Stress Hormones Flashbulb memories – a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event Very vivid; usually recalled with great detail Misinformation may seep into them Hippocampus – brain area vital for laying down memories • Stronger emotional experiences make for stronger, more reliable memories • Weaker emotions mean weaker memories
Stress Hormones Memory H.M. – famous case of 1953 man who had brain area responsible for laying down new memories surgically removed Still had access to older memories No ability to remember new things Still have a capacity to learn; although they demonstrate learned things with no awareness of having learned them (Ex. Where’s Waldo) • When stress hormones are flowing, older memories may be blocked • Ex. – public speaking • Amnesia – the loss of memory
Implicit vs Explicit Memory Implicit vs Explicit Memory Explicit Memory (Declarative Memory) – memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and “declare” “With conscious recall” Processed in hippocampus Facts (general knowledge) Personally experienced events • Implicit Memory (Nondeclarative Memory)– retention independent of conscious recollection • “Without conscious recall” • Processed by other brain areas, including cerebellum • Skills (cognitive & motor) • Classical Conditioning • Patients with amnesia may learn “how” to do something, but may not know how they know, or may not be able to “declare” what they know
Forming New Memories Forming New Memories Hippocampus is lateralized – you have two of them Damage to Right Hipp. No trouble with verbal info Trouble with visual designs and locations Damage to Left Hipp. Trouble with verbal info No trouble with visual designs and locations • Even Alzheimer’s patients have the ability to form new implicit memories • Hippocampus – found in temporal lobe, part of limbic system; where explicit memories of names, images, and events are laid down
Memory Memory During sleep, both the hippocampus and cortex display activity Brain is probably replaying activities of previous day and info is transferred to cortex for long-term storage • Hippocampus is active during slow wave sleep • The greater the hippocampus activity during sleep after a training experience, the better the next day’s memory • Sleep supports memory consolidation
Cerebellum Memory Infantile Amnesia – as adults we recall nothing (explicitly) of our first three years of life We index much of our explicit memory in words, many of which aren’t yet learned by age 3 The hippocampus is NOT fully developed at age 3, and is one of last brain structures to mature • Cerebellum – extends out from the rear of the brainstem • Plays a key role in forming and storing implicit memories • Certain conditioned reflexes may not be learned with damage to cerebellum
Retrieval: Getting Information Out Retrieval: Getting Information Out Relearning – a measure of memory that assesses the amount of time saved when learning material for a second time If you once learned something and then forgot it, it will be learned more quickly the second time We remember more than we can recall • Recall – a measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test • Recognition – a measure of memory in which the person need only identify items previously learned, as on a multiple choice test
Retrieval Cues Priming Example Ask a friend two rapid-fire questions: a)How do you pronounce the word spelled by the letters s-h-o-p? b)What do you do at a green light? *If your friend answers “stop”, you have demonstrated priming • Memories are held in storage by a web of associations • Retrieval Cues are anchor points used to help recall information later • Priming – the activation, often unconsciously, of particular associations in memory
Context Effects Context Effects Another theory on déjà vu: Information processing occurs on multiple tracks; if one of the tracks lags behind another it may create an illusion that we are now experiencing something again • Putting yourself back in the context where you experienced something can prime your memory retrieval • Déjà Vu – the eerie sense that “I’ve experienced this before.” Cues from the current situation may subconsciously trigger retrieval of an earlier experience.
Moods and Memories Moods and Memories Mood-Congruent Memory – the tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one’s current good or bad mood Currently depressed people – recall being parented in a negative light Formerly depressed people – recall being parented much like any other person • Specific emotions may prime us to recall events associated with that emotion • What we learn in one state – drunk or sober - is more easily recalled when again in that state (state-dependent memory); although alcohol significantly disrupts storage
Moods and Memories Forgetting William James – said if we remembered “everything” we would be in trouble We need to discard the clutter of useless information Jill Price (aka A.J.) – woman who remembers every day of her life since she was 14, with detailed clarity; according to her, it is like a movie that never stops running • Our moods effect on retrieval helps explain why our moods persist; we tend to go in a positive or negative cycle for a while
Forgetting Forgetting Three Sins of Forgetting Absent Mindedness Inattention to details leads to encoding failure Transience Storage decay over time (unused information fades) Blocking Inaccessibility of stored information (someone’s name is at the tip of our tongue, but we can’t get it) We don’t have enough information to locate it in our memory • Daniel Schacter – memory researcher who explains the “Seven Sins of Memory”
Forgetting Forgetting One Sin of Intrusion Persistence Unwanted memories (being haunted by images of sexual assault) • Three Sins of Distortion • Misattribution • Confusing the source of information (putting words in someone else’s mouth or remembering dream as real) • Suggestibility • Lingering effects of information creates fake memory (sex abuse cases) • Bias • Belief-colored recollections (current feelings toward a friend color recalled initial feelings)
Encoding Failure Encoding Failure Encoding Failure leads to Forgetting prior to information reaching the long-term memory Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve- the course of forgetting is initially rapid, then levels off with time • Slower encoding helps explain age-related memory decline • Automatic Processing = where we had dinner yesterday • Effortful Processing = terms for this chapter
Retrieval Failure: Forgetting Retrieval Failure: Forgetting Information attained in the hour prior to sleep is protected from Retroactive Interference because the opportunity for interfering events is minimized at that time of day. • Proactive Interference (forward-acting) – the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information • Retroactive Interference (backward-acting) – the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information
Forgetting Motivated Forgetting People unknowingly revise their own histories We may recall doing things more than we actually did once we find out that activity was “good” We may recall ourselves being more “bold” in a circumstance that was actually true • The hour prior to a night’s sleep is a good time to commit things to memory • The seconds just before sleep show information seldom remembered • Positive Transfer – when old information can facilitate learning of new information (knowing Latin helps you learn French)
Repression Repression We can intentionally forget neutral information, but it’s difficult to forget emotional information. Forgetting can occur at any memory stage Repression – in psychoanalytic theory, the basic defense mechanism that banishes from consciousness anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories -Freud’s term -Most people believe that repression occurs; “it makes sense” -Memory researchers feel it rarely, if ever, occurs;
Memory Construction Memory Construction Elizabeth Loftus – filmed traffic accident, showed to participants, then asked questions about what they had seen: Used leading words such as “hit” and “smashed” to provoke varying memories in participants • When trying to remember, we infer our past from our stored information PLUS what we later imagined, expected, saw, and heard. • We don’t just retrieve memories, we reweave them.
Memory Construction Memory Construction Visualizing something and actually perceiving something activate the same brain areas Source Amnesia: attributing to the wrong source an event we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined (aka Source Misattribution) • Misinformation Effect: incorporating misleading information into one’s memory of an event; leads many people to “misremember” • Imagination Inflation: repeatedly imagining an event may create a false memory not easily distinguished from truth
Memory Construction Memory Construction Hypnotically refreshed memories easily incorporate errors Cognitive Interview Technique Trained police interviewers ask witnesses to visualize and tell about the scene of crime Witness tells in detail Only then does interviewer ask more leading questions • We can’t be sure whether a memory is real by how real it feels • We can’t judge reality of a memory on its persistence • Memories of REAL events have more detail • Memories of FALSE events usually contain gist of story
Memory Construction Memory Construction Children’s Eyewitness Recall Interviewers who ask leading questions can plant false memories Children often confuse stories they have heard with actual memories of REAL events Children are most accurate when they haven’t spoken with involved adults, when disclosure is made in first interview with neutral person, and when nonleading questions are used • Example of False Memory: • Rape victim identified man closely resembling the perpetrator. Only later did victim realize the man was on a live T.V. interview in the background of her crime scene. (source amnesia)
Repressed or Constructed Memories of Abuse? Both Sides Agree on the Following: Sexual abuse happens Injustice happens Forgetting happens Recovered Memories are commonplace Ones that surface naturally are more reliable Memories of events prior to age 3 are unreliable Memories retrieved under hypnosis or influence of drugs are especially unreliable Memories, both real or false, can be emotionally upsetting • Trauma survivors are sometimes disbelieved when telling their secret • Innocent people are sometimes falsely accused • Families are sometimes cruelly ripped apart by accusations based on falsely reconstructed memories(also happens to clergy)
Memory Reconstruction On Repression… The most common response to traumatic experience is NOT banishment of the experience to the unconscious. Rather, such experiences are typically etched on the mind as vivid, persistent, haunting memories • People remember clearly and vividly being abducted by aliens • Elizabeth Loftus “remembered” finding her mother drowned in pool (actually her aunt had made the discovery)
Improving Memory Improving Memory (continued) Test your knowledge, both to rehearse it and to help determine what you do not yet know Don’t by lulled into overconfidence by your ability to recognize information Test your ability to recall information • SQ3R Method: Survey, Question, Read, Rehearse, Review • Study Repeatedly • Make Material Meaningful • Activate Retrieval Cues • Use Mnemonic Devices • Minimize Interference • Sleep More
Improving Memory • Actively thinking as we read, by rehearsing and relating ideas, yields the best retention.