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Memory. Scientific Frontiers Memory Videos How Does Memory Work (1-5). How Many Objects Can You Remember?. Memory. The persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information Your memory is your mind’s storehouse, the reservoir of your accumulated learning.

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Scientific Frontiers Memory Videos
  • How Does Memory Work (1-5)
  • The persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information
    • Your memory is your mind’s storehouse, the reservoir of your accumulated learning
information processing theory
Information Processing Theory
  • Encoding – the processing of information into the memory system
  • Storage – the retention of encoded information over time
  • Retrieval – the process of getting information out of memory storage
Encoding is the processing of putting information into the memory system – the first step of building a memory is sensory input
  • Sensory input can occur in two ways: it is either an automatic process, or an effortful process
Automatic Process – some sensory information is encoded without any conscious effort or awareness at all –… didn’t have to do anything at the time you were doing these things in order to remember them later
Effortful Processing – while some sensory information is gathered rather simply and without effort, some sensory information gathering requires both your attention and a conscious effort
Two effortful practices that may help to gather (encode) sensory information include rehearsal and spacing
Rehearsal – the conscious repetition of information
  • Spacing Effect – rehearsing information repeatedly, over time. Spaced studying beats cramming. Rehearse a bit, take a break, begin rehearsing as you start forgetting things, take a break, rehearse again as you begin to forget, etc.
Semantic Encoding – the encoding of words, definitions, meanings, names, dates, events
  • Acoustic Encoding – the encoding of sounds
  • Visual Encoding – the encoding of picture images
Flashbulb Memories – Do you remember:
    • Your first day of high school?
    • Your ____ th birthday?
    • Your first kiss?
    • Your first sports accomplishment (homerun, perfect “10”, goal)
    • Any other singular event?

Memory Shortcuts

How to Improve Your Memory

Who’s coming to the party? Sally, Dave, Sean, Barry, Cindy, Melissa, Rebecca, Tim……
    • How to make it easier? Make the list alphabetical. Group the names by gender.
      • Barry, Cindy, Dave, etc.
      • Sally, Rebecca, etc…..Dave, Barry, etc.
Encode these 16 numbers?
    • 1,4,9,2,1,7,7,6,1,8,1,2,1,9,4,1
Acronyms – Organizing items by creating words or sentences from the first letters of the words to be remembered, or making words from each letter of the word to be remembered
Need to learn the names of North America’s five “Great Lakes”?
    • Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior - HOMES
National Basketball Association – NBA
  • Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus – SCUBA
How does a doctor diagnose Depression?

DEAD SWAMP:Depressed mood most of the dayEnergy loss or fatigueAnhedoniaDeath thoughts (recurrent), suicidal ideation or attemptsSleep disturbances (insomnia, hypersomnia)Worthlessness or excessive guiltAppetite or weight changeMentation decreased (ability to think or concentrate, indecisiveness)Psychomotor agitation or retardation

Can’t remember how to spell Arithmetic?
    • ARat In Toms House Might Eat Toms Ice Cream
acrostics first letter technique
Acrostics/First Letter Technique
  • Take the first letter of each word in a group and form a new, more manageable sentence
My Dear Aunt Sally - mathematical order of operations: Multiply and Divide before you Add and Subtract
  • Kings Phil Came Over for the Genes Special -(Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Genus, Species)
Try to remember the following:
    • Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto
    • Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
    • Frontal, Parietal, Temporal, Occipital
substitution technique
Substitution Technique
  • Letters are used to replace numbers, or vice versa
Want to buy a mattress? 1-800-628-8737
  • Want love? 1-976-438-5683
    • Or, 1-800-MATTRES (leave the last S off for “Savings”)
    • Or, 1-976-GETLOVE
acoustic mnemonics
Acoustic Mnemonics
  • Acoustical encoding may also enhance the processing of other information by applying rhyme schemes, stories, songs, etc. to the information.
Trying to remember the concept that alcohol lowers inhibitions and encourages socialization?…..”What sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals”.
  • “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” is easily remembered by jurors when a lawyer is fighting for his client’s innocence.
Fifty Nifty States
  • Thirty days has September; April, June, and November; When short February is done, All the rest have thirty-one.
  • In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue.
  • "i" before "e," except after "c," or in sounding like "ay" as in "neighbor" or "weigh."
visual mnemonic
  • Visual encoding may also enhance the processing of other information. For example, if you are trying to remember a list of grocery items, you may mentally picture a grocery store and place the items in the store (Method of Loci).


Storage: Retaining Information

Remembering Everything Part I
  • Remembering Everything Part II
  • Woman Who Cant Forget
information processing theory1
Information Processing Theory
  • Atkinson and Shiffrin’s “Three-Stage Processing” Model
  • Memories are stored in a three-step process of sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory
Sensory Memory – the immediate, initial recording of sensory information; fleeting, temporary information
  • Short-Term Memory – activated memory that holds a few items briefly, such as the seven-digits of a phone number while you are dialing, and then the information is either stored, or forgotten
  • Long-term Memory – the relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of memories
sensory memory
Sensory Memory
  • Sensory memory retention is only fleeting and momentary; it is less than a second
  • Sensory memory retention allows us to remember small, quick bits of information for a very short period of time, though it is not generally encoded
Iconic Memory: Our fleeting photographic memory
  • Echoic Memory: Our fleeting memory for auditory sensations
short term memory or working memory
Short-Term Memory or Working Memory
  • Short-term memory has two important characteristics. First, short-term memory can contain at any one time seven, plus or minus two, "chunks" of information.
  • Second, items remain in short-term memory around ten to thirty seconds.
  • The ability to hold and manipulate information over a brief period of time. Forgetting can occur rapidly, especially if distracted.
long term memory
Long-Term Memory
  • A system in the brain that can store vast amounts of information on a relatively enduring basis
  • The information can be facts you learned a few minutes ago, personal memories that are decades old, or skills learned with practice.
there are three types of long term memories
There are three types of Long Term Memories
  • Episodic Memory – Memories of specific events, stored in a sequence
  • Semantic Memory – General knowledge of the world, stored as facts, meanings, or in categories
  • Procedural Memory – Memories of skills and how to perform them
long term memories can be
Long Term Memories can be….
  • Explicit Memory – Conscious memories of facts or events we actively tried to remember
  • Implicit Memories – Memories that are unintentional and are brought to consciousness inadvertently
The average adult has more than a billion bits of information in memory
  • Storage capacity of long-term memories has been estimated at million times that (1,000,000 X 1,000,000,000)
storing memories in the brain
Storing Memories in the Brain
  • The hippocampus is relevant to short-term memory especially, like a holding cell until memories can be transferred into long-term memory – especially explicit memory
  • The cerebellum is primarily responsible for implicit memory storage
  • The amygdala stores many memories tied to emotions

The Hippocampus and Memory



Retrieval: Getting Information Out

Recall – memory is the ability to retrieve exact information learned at an earlier time
    • IE. Fill in the blank test.
    • IE. Columbus sailed in the year ________. 6 x 6 = _____. Define retrieval ______. My Social Security number is _______.

Recall Memory

Recognition – a measure of memory in which a person only needs to identify items previously learned
    • IE. A multiple-choice test.
    • IE. Of the following choices, which is the correct answer to 6 x 6 ____. You can’t remember the names of all 400 kids you graduated high school with, but if I show you pictures of them you can remember who you went to school with and who you didn’t.
Relearning – the principle that if you’ve learned something and forgot it, you probably will learn the material more easily the second time – therefore, retrieval is easier and quicker as well
    • IE. Learned to play the guitar and played for five years. Haven’t played in 10 years, but you pick up a guitar and play a few tunes, and with a few lessons you play as well as you did before.
  • Primers – the activation of particular associations in memory, by a keyword or some other type of sensory input
    • Can’t remember a word? Here’s the first letter
    • Can’t remember a song? Here’s the first few notes
    • Seeing the color red brings back memories of…
    • Smelling suntan lotion brings back memories of….
Context Effects – the tendency to remember information better and more accurately when you are in a physical setting that is similar to the one that you learned the information in the first place
State-Dependent Theory – what we learn in one emotional or physical state – happy or sad, drunk or sober – is sometimes more easily recalled when we are again in that same emotional state
Mood-Congruent – our moods biasour past memories
    • IE. You had a fantastic wedding, happy and jovial. Five years later, in the middle of a bad divorce, all that you remember is how hectic the day was, how uncomfortable it was, how stressed you were, how annoying your wife-to-be was leading up to the day…….
déjà vu – “Already Seen” (French)
    • The eerie sense that “I’ve been in this exact situation before”
    • Paranormal Explanation – Precognition or Reincarnation?
    • Memory Explanation – If a situation is loaded with clues that are similar to ones already in memory, your brain makes similar associations between them


Forgetting, Memory Construction, and Improving Memory

why do we forget
Why do we forget?
  • Age - The older we get, the less responsive the brain areas associated with encoding and retaining memory are. Therefore, long-term memory is especially hindered.
  • Absent-Mindedness – inattention to detail leads to poor encoding, trivial storage, and often failed retrieval
    • AbM Test
    • Ebbinghaus’ “Forgetting Curve” states that much of what we learn we forget rather quickly if it’s not used – we forget about 35% of what we learn within five (5) days, but then we retain the rest for a rather long period of time
Decay Theory –
    • forgetting is due to normal metabolic processes that occur in the brain over time
    • if memories are unused over a long period of time, they begin to naturally fade away
Pro-active Interference – occurs when something you learned earlier (an old memory) disrupts your ability to create a new memory
    • IE. You buy a new car and want to switch on the headlights, but instead you keep turning on the windshield wipers.
Retro-active Interference – occurs when new information makers it harder to recall something you learned earlier
    • IE. Your new phone number interferes with remembering your old phone number.
Repression - a basic defense mechanism that banishes from consciousness anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories
Tip-Of-The-Tongue Experience – the inability to get a bit of information that you’re absolutely certain is stored in your memory – the information is very close, but just out of reach
Source Confusion – arises when the true source of a memory is forgotten, so you create details to fill in the gaps
  • Misinformation Effect – a person’s existing memories can be altered if the person is exposed to misleading information or questions
    • Eyewitness Testimony…How reliable is it?
The Accuracy of Eyewitness Testimony Part I
  • The Accuracy of Eyewitness Testimony Part II
Amnesia – sever memory loss
  • Retrograde Amnesia – especially due to injury, patients lose most of their memory of past events, especially most recent events
  • Anterograde Amnesia – the inability to form new memories
  • Alzheimers – as plaques build in the brain and interfere with neural transmissions, memories cannot be formed or retrieved
Alzheimer’s Treatment
  • Blocking Memories, Medically
  • Life Without Memory I
  • Life Without Memory II