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Memory. AP Psychology . Memory. Memory is defined as the persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information. Different models are used to explain memory No one model accounts for all memory phenomena. . INFORMATION PROCESSING MODEL.

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AP Psychology

  • Memory is defined as the persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information.
  • Different models are used to explain memory
  • No one model accounts for all memory phenomena.
information processing model
  • Comparison of mind to that of a computer
  • Encoding: getting information into the memory system
  • Storage: the retention of information over time
  • Retrieval: the process of getting information out of memory storage
  • Since we cannot process all incoming sensory information that is available, we must filter information through attention
    • Focused attention
    • Divided attention
    • Cocktail party effect
levels of processing model
  • Craik & Lockhart (1972)
  • also known as Semantic Network Theory: asserts the ability to form memories depends upon the depth of the processing.
  • Shallow Processing: encoding that emphasizes the structure of incoming information such as the typeface of work or how a letter looks.
  • Semantic Encoding: Encoding the meaning of a word and relating it to similar words with similar meaning.
  • Deep Processing: involves elaboration rehearsal where we attach meaning to information & create associations between new memory and existing ones (elaboration) leading to better recall.
    • Self-referent encoding: relating new information to ourselves – one of the best ways to facilitate later recall.
three stage model
Three-Stage Model
  • Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) suggest we form memories through 3 stages
  • Information is first held in our Sensory Memory just long enough to be perceived.
    • Iconic (visual)Memory: represents visual stimulus which lasts for less than 1 second.
    • Echoic (auditory) Memory: lasts for about 4 seconds
    • Selective Attention
    • Encoding can be processed in two ways:
      • Automatic Processing: unconscious encoding of information about space, time, & frequency that occurs without interfering with our thinking (parallel processing)
      • Effortful Processing: encoding that requires our focused attend and conscious effort
three stage model cont d
  • Short Term Memory (STM): holds a limited amount of information for about 30 seconds unless it is processed further.
    • Capacity of STM is approximately 7 bits (plus or minus 2) bits of information at one time. (ex: the seven digits of a telephone #)
    • If we rehearse the new information, we can hold it longer in STM
    • Chunking: we can increase STM by grouping information into meaningful units.
    • Working Memory is often used as a synonym for STM, however, newer research suggests that it involves more than chunking, rehearsal, and passive storage.
    • Defined as the conscious, active processing of incoming auditory & visual-spatial information, & of information retrieved from long-term memory. Ex: actively associating new & old information to solve problems.
three stage model cont d1
  • Alan Baddley (1992) Working Memory Model: Active three part memory system that temporarily holds information. Consists of:
    • Phonological Loop: briefly stores information about language sounds with an acoustic code from sensory memory & a rehearsal function that lets us repeat the words in the loop.
    • Visuospatial Working Memory: briefly stores visual & spatial information from sensory memory including imagery (metal pictures)
    • Central Executive: actively integrates information from the phonological loop, the visuospatial loop, and long-term memory as we solve problems, associate old & new information, and perform other cognitive tasks.
baddley s working memory model
Baddley’s Working Memory Model

Working memory accounts for our ability to carry on a conversation(phonological loop) while exercising (visuospatial working memory).

three stage model cont d2
Three Stage Model (cont’d)
  • Long-Term Memory (LTM): relatively permanent storage with unlimited capacity into which information from STM may pass. Divided into:
    • Explicit Memory (Declarative Memory): memory of facts & experiences that we consciously know & verbalize (declare)
      • Semantic Memory: facts & general knowledge
      • Episodic Memory: personally experienced events
    • Implicit Memory (Nondeclarative Memory): retention independent of conscious memory
      • Procedual Memory: memory of motor & cognitive skills
      • Classical & Operant Conditioning Effects such as automatic association between stimuli.
memory organization
Memory Organization
  • Four major models account fore organization of information into LTM
  • Hierarches: systems in which concepts are arranged from general to more specific (ex: animal kingdom)
    • Concepts: mental representations of related things; can represent physical objects, events, organisms, attributes, or even abstractions (birds)
    • Prototypes: most typical examples for a concept (robin)
    • Superordinate concepts: include clusters of basic concepts; instances of basic concepts (vertebrates)
memory organization cont d
  • Semantic Networks: more irregular and distorted systems than hierarchies, having multiple links from one concept to others.
    • Elements of such networks are not limited to particular aspects of items
    • We use mental maps that organize and connect concepts so that we can process complex experiences Ex: concept of a bird can be linked to flying, feathers, other birds, animals wings which then, in turn, can be linked to other concepts
    • Research suggests that we appear to scan a visual image of a mental map in our mind when asked questions.
memory organization cont d1
  • Schemas: pre-existing mental frameworks that start as basic operations and then get more complex as we gain additional information.
    • These frameworks enable us to organize and interpret new information and can be easily expanded.
    • These large knowledge structures influence the way we encode, make inferences about, and recall information.
    • Script: a schema for an event
  • Connectionist Networks: memory is stored throughout the brain in connections between neurons, many of which work together to process a single memory.
    • Changes in the strength of synaptic connections are the basis for memory.
memory organization cont d2
Memory Organization (cont’d)
  • Cognitive psychologists & computer scientists have designed the neural network or parallel processing model for AI (artificial intelligence)
    • Neural network computer models are based on neuron-like systems, which are biological rather than artificially contrived computer codes.
    • These networks can learn, adapt to new situations, and deal with imprecise & incomplete information.
biology of lt memory
Biology of LT Memory
  • Long-Term Potentiation (LTP): an increase in a synapse’s firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation.
    • May be the neural basis for learning and memory
    • Involves the increase in the efficiency with which signals are sent across the synapse within neural networks of long-term memories.
    • Sending neurons in such pathways release neurotransmitters faster and receiving neurons may increase their number of receptor molecules.
  • Flashbulb Memory: a vivid memory of an emotionally rousing event, which is associated with an increase in adrenal hormones which trigger the release of energy for neural processes & activation of the amygdala & hippocampus.
biology of lt memory cont d
  • Thalamus: role in the encoding of sensory memory into short term memory.
  • Short-term memory seems to be located primarily in the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes
  • The hippocampus, prefrontal lobes, & temporal lobes of the cerebral cortex and other regions of the limbic system are involved in the processing of EXPLICIT memories for long-term storage.
  • Studies using MRI indicate that the hippocampus and left frontal lobe are active in encoding new information into memory. The right frontal lobe is more active when we retrieve memories.
  • Damage to the hippocampus may destroy the ability to consciously recall memories without harming skills or classically conditioned responses.
biology of lt memories cont d
  • Cerebellum: plays a key role in the forming & storing of implicit memories.
    • People with damage to the cerebellum cannot develop certain conditioned reflexes
  • Anterograde Amnesia: destruction of the hippocampus results in the inability to put new information into explicit memory. No new semantic memories are stored.
  • Retrograde Amnesia: memory loss for a segment of the past, usually around the time of the accident (such as a blow to the head). May result from a disruption in the process of long-term potentiation
retrieving memories
Retrieving Memories
  • Retrieval: process of getting information out of memory storage.
  • Recall: a measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as in 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
  • Reconstruction: when information we try to remember has missing pieces, retrieval of such memories can be distorted by adding, dropping or changing details to fit a schema.
herman ebbinghouse
Herman Ebbinghouse
  • The first to experimentally investigate the properties of human memory.
  • Assumed that the process of committing something to memory involved the formation of new associations that would be strengthened through repetition.
  • To observe this process, he devised a set of items to be committed to memory that would have no previous associations, the so-called nonsense syllables.
  • He proceeded to memorize these lists through systematic repetition & found a positive correlation between repetition and ability to recall the list items.
ebbinghouse cont d
  • Ebbinghousewas credited with the creation of the first learning curve.
  • Forgetting turned out to occur most rapidly soon after the end of practice, and then slowed. This represented the first forgetting curve.
  • He found that recognition was sometimes easier than recall to measure forgetting.
  • Overlearning Effect: Ebbinghouse found that if one continued to practice a list after memorizing it well, the information was more resistant to forgetting.
  • Saving Method: measure Ebbinghouse used to measure retention of information
    • Amount of repetitions required to relearn a list compared to the number of repetitions it took to learn the list originally.
  • Serial Position Effect: when trying to retrieve a long list of words, we recall the last word and the first words best, forgetting the words in the middle.
  • Primacy Effect: recall of the first items, thought to be a result of greater rehearsal
  • Recency Effect: better recall of the last items of the list – immediate after learning, these last words may still be in working memory
  • Retrieval Cues: reminders associated with information we are trying to get out of memory aid in our remembering.
  • Priming: activating specific associations in memory either consciously or consciously
  • Retrieval cues prime our memories.
retrieval cont d
Retrieval (cont’d)
  • Distributed Practice: spreading out the memorization of information or the learning of skills over several sessions facilitates memory better than Massed Practice (cramming of information in one session)
  • Mnemonic Devices: memory tricks or strategies to make information easier to remember (ex: ROY G. BIV)
  • Peg Word System (Mnemonic): uses the association of terms to be remembered with a memorized scheme.
    • First you learn the rhyme or scheme, then you associate the peg words with the to be remembered items.
retrieval cont d1
Retrieval (cont’d)
  • Context-Dependent Memory: the physical setting in which a person learns information is encoded along with the information and becomes part of the memory trace.
  • Mood Congruence (mood-dependent memory): tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one’s current good/bad mood.
  • State-DependentMemory Effect: tendency to recall information better when in the same internal states as when the information was encoded
  • May result from the failure to:
    • Encode information (lack of attention to certain stimuli
    • Decay of stored memories: gradual fading of the physical memory trace because we may have never used that information and the neuronal connections are no longer there
    • Inability to access information from LTM.
  • Relearning: measure of retention of memory that assesses the time saved compared to learning the first time when learning information again.
    • If the relearning takes as much time as the initial learning, then the memory of the information has decayed.
forgetting cont d

Cues and Interference

  • Tip-of –the-Tongue Phenomenon: a often temporary inability to access information accompanied by a feeling that the information is in LTM.
  • Interference: learning some items prevents us from retrieving others, particularly when the items are similar.
    • Proactive Interference: the process by which old memories prevent the retrieval of newer memories (forward acting)
    • Retroactive Interference: the process by which new memories prevent the retrieval of older memories. (backward acting)
forgetting cont d1
Forgetting (cont’d)

Cues and Interference (cont’d)

  • Repression (Freud): the tendency to forget unpleasant or traumatic memories hidden in our unconscious mind, that with proper therapy, can be retrieved.
    • Elizabeth Loftus is one of the strongest opponents of repressed memories
    • Memories of traumatic events suddenly recalled during therapy may result from confabulation - the active reconstruction of memory where gaps are filled in by combining and substituting memories from events other than the one we are trying to remember.
    • When trying to remember details at an accident scene we often exhibit confabulation.
forgetting cont d2
  • Misinformation Effect: Occurs when we incorporate misleading information into our memory of an event.
  • Misattribution Error (Source Amnesia): attributing to the wrong source an event we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined.
    • Source amnesia along with misinformation effect is at the heart of most false memories.


AP Psychology

  • Cognition: mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering and communicating.
  • Metacognition: thinking about how you think

Problem Solving: generally involves identifying a problem, generating problem solving strategies, trying a strategy, and evaluating the results.

  • Algorithm: a methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem
  • Heuristics: a problem-solving strategy that uses a mental shortcut to quickly simplify & solve a problem
    • A speedier method, but more error prone using an algorithm.
thinking cont d
Thinking (cont’d)
  • Insight: sudden, often novel realization of the solution to a problem.
  • Trial and Error: trying possible solutions and discarding those that fail to solve the problem. Works best when choices are limited.
  • Inductive Reasoning: reasoning from the specific to the general, forming concepts about all members of a category based on some members.
    • Reasoning could be flawed if members chosen are not representative of the group
  • Deductive Reasoning: reasoning from the general to the specific.
    • Deductions are logically correct & lead to good answers when the initial rules or assumptions are true
obstacles to problem solving
  • Fixation: inability to see a problem from a new perspective.
  • Mental Set: a type of fixation that involves the tendency to approach a problem in a particular way, often a way that has been successful in the past.
  • Functional Fixedness: the tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions
    • Ex: thinking a large plastic bag can only be used to carry things. What else can it be used for?
  • Availability Heuristic: estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory.
    • If instances come readily to mind, we presume such events are common.
obstacles to problem solving cont d
  • Availability Heuristic Example:
    • People who read more case studies of successful businesses may judge the probability of running a successful business to be greaterthan it is
  • Representative Heuristic: judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to represent or match particular prototypes. This can lead to ignoring of relevant information.
    • If someone loves to solve math problems, is this person a mathematics professor or a high school student?
    • The correct answer is high school student because there are many more of them than mathematicians.
obstacles to problem solving cont d1
  • Framing: Refers to the way a problem is posed. How an issue is framed can significantly affect perceptions, judgments and decisions.
    • We more likely will by a product that is 90% fat free than it is advertises that it contains 10% fat.
  • Anchoring Effect: the tendency to be influenced by a suggested reference point, pulling our bias toward that point.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I

stay with problems longer.” –Albert Einstein

  • Confirmation Bias: A tendency to search for information that confirms our preconceptions and ignore information that refutes our ideas.
  • Belief Perseverance: the tendency to maintain one’s belief even after the basis for the belief has been discredited.
  • Belief Bias: the tendency for our pre-existing beliefs to distort logical reasoning, making illogical conclusions seem valid or logical conclusions seem invalid.
  • Hindsight Bias: tendency to falsely report, after the event, that we correctly predicted the outcome of the event.
  • Overconfidence Bias: tendency to underestimate the extent to which our judgments are erroneous.
  • Defined as the ability to think about a problem or idea in new and unusual ways; to come up with unconventional solutions.
  • Convergent Thinkers: use problem-solving strategies directed toward one correct solution to a problem
  • Divergent Thinkers: produce many answers to the same question (characteristic of creativity)
  • Creative thinkers will:
    • Move on to another problem if they get stuck on the one they are working on and come back to it later
    • Brainstorm first to generate many ideas without evaluating them and only then review and evaluate solutions.


AP Psychology

building blocks
Building Blocks
  • Language: Spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning.
  • Phonemes: basic sound units of language.
    • Phonemes have no meaning
    • 100 different phonemes worldwide
    • English uses about 45.
    • Ex: bat has 3 phonemes – b, a, t. Chat also has 3 phonemes – ch, a, t
  • Morphemes: smallest meaningful units of speech, such as simple words, prefixes, and suffixes.
    • Most morphemes are a combination of phonemes
    • Ex: undesirables – 4 morphemes un desir able s
combination rules
Combination Rules
  • Grammar: a system of rules that enables us to communicate wit hand understand others.
  • Semantics: the set of rules by which we derive meaning from morphemes, words, and sentences, in a given language. Also means the study of language
    • Ex: added –ed to the end of a word to indicate past tense
  • Syntax: the rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language.
    • Ex: adjectives come before nouns - black cat
language acquisition
  • Babbling Stage: beginning at about 4 months of age, where the infant spontaneously utters various phonemes, which are not limited to the phonemes heard by the infant.
    • At around 10 months of age, the phonemes a baby uses narrows to those of the language(s) spoken around the infant.
  • Holophase(one word): from about age 1 to 2 where the toddler uses mostly one word to convey meaning.
  • By age 2, toddlers begin speaking in two word sentences, often using Telegraphic Speech, which is characterized by the use of a verb and a noun such as “eat cookie”
language acquisition cont d
  • Between the ages of 2 and 3, language expands exponentially.
  • By the age of 3, children begin to follow rules of grammar without any instruction.
  • Overgeneralization (overregularization):“I goed to the store” – the child uses the general rule that we form past tense by adding –ed to a word, however, they use the grammar rules without making appropriate exceptions.

theories of language acquisition
Theories of Language Acquisition

Noam Chomsky (naturist):

Believes that our brains prewired for a universal grammar of nouns, verbs, subjects, objects, negations, and questions.

Compares our language acquisition capacity to a “language acquisition device” in which grammar switches are turned on as children are exposed to their language.

Believes that overgeneralization is evidence that children generate all sorts of sentences they have never heard and could not be imitating others.

Critical period for language development – if children are not exposed to language development before adolescence, they will unable to acquire language.

language acquisition theories cont d
Language Acquisition Theories(cont’d)

B.F. Skinner (nurture – behaviorist):

Believed that children learn language by association, reinforcement, and imitation.

Asserted that babies imitate phonemes around them and get reinforcement for using these sounds.

A baby’s first meaningful words are a result of shaping that is done by parents during the 1st year of life.

Social Interactionists: agree that language acquisition is a combination of nurture and nature.

They believe that children are biologically prepared but assert that the environment can either activate this potential or constrain it.

language influences thinking
Language Influences Thinking

Benjamin Whorf (1956)

Linguistic Determinism hypothesis: language determines the way we think.

Different languages impose different constraints on reality

For example, the Hopi have no past tense for their verbs, so he contended that the Hopi could not think about the past.

Today, more accurate to say, language influences thought.

Words convey ideas, Research on bilingual people demonstrate that different languages embody different ways of thinking.