Chapter 7 - Memory

Ch. 7
Memory
Varieties
of Memory
Three Stages of the
Learning/Memory Process
Encoding
Storage
Retrieval
Working Memory
Episodic Memory
Holding information briefly while working with it
Remembering episodes of one’s life
Semantic Memory
General knowledge of facts of the world
Maintaining information over time
Ability to access information when you need it
Techniques
Relating new information to what one already knows
Forming mental images
Creating associations among information that needs to be remembered
Techniques
Developing effective cues that will lead the rememberer back to the encoded information
Mnemonic systems
Eg: Recalling everything you did 2 days ago
Eg: Meanings of words in a language, and random facts
Collective Memory
The kind of memory that people in a group share
Such as: family, community, schoolmates, or citizens of a state or a country
Eg: Residents of small towns often strongly identify with those towns, remembering the local customs and historical events in a unique way
Passes stories and recollections between neighbors and to future generations, forming a memory system unto itself.
First type of memory to go in someone with Alzheimer’s disease
Autobiographical Memory
Remembering specific events that have happened over the course of one’s entire life
Eg: Your experiences in sixth grade
Initial learning of information; Learning it, by perceiving it and relating it to past knowledge
Any successful act of remembering requires that all three stages be intact.
Types of errors:
Forgetting
Misremembering
/False Memories
Eg: You see the person you met at the party and you cannot recall her name.
Eg. You see someone who looks like Lyn Goff and call the person by that name
Principles
It is selective
We attend to some events in our environment and we ignore others
It is prolific
We are always encoding the events of our lives—attending to the world, trying to understand it.
Distinctiveness
Having an event stand out as quite different from a background of similar events
Vivid Memory
Memories associated with a strong emotion often seem to leave a permanent mark on us.
Flashbulb Memory
Describes this sort of vivid memory of finding out an important piece of news. The name refers to how some memories seem to be captured in the mind like a flash photograph; because of the distinctiveness and emotionality of the news, they seem to become permanently etched in the mind with exceptional clarity compared to other memories.
Recoding
The process of encoding always involves recoding—that is, taking the information from the form it is delivered to us and then converting it in a way that we can make sense of it.
Create meaning
We should try to relate new events to information we already know.
Imagining events
Creating vivid images out of information (even verbal information) can greatly improve later recall
Form links or associations
People can sometimes remember events that did not actually happen—because during the process of recoding, details got added. Every time we retrieve a memory, it is altered.
Sometimes we make false memories from our inferences
Refers to instances when something is not explicitly stated, but we are still able to guess the undisclosed intention.
Eg: “The karate champion hit the cinder block.” After hearing or seeing this sentence, participants who were given a memory test tended to remember the statement as having been, “The karate champion broke the cinder block.”
Experiences leave memory traces, or engrams
Consolidation
The neural changes that occur after learning to create the memory trace of an experience.
The physical change in the nervous system (whatever that may be, exactly) that represents our experience.
Retroactive interference
Refers to new activities (i.e., the subsequent lunches) during the retention interval (i.e., the time between the lunch 17 days ago and now) that interfere with retrieving the specific, older memory (i.e., the lunch details from 17 days ago).
Proactive interference
When past memories interfere with the encoding of new ones.
Eg: If you have ever studied a second language, often times the grammar and vocabulary of your native language will pop into your head, impairing your fluency in the foreign language.
Retroactive interference is one of the main causes of forgetting
Misinformation effect
If information were encoded and stored but could not be retrieved, it would be useless
Available information
Information that is stored in memory
Accessible information
All we can know is what information we can retrieve
Eg: Hearing a song on the radio that suddenly evokes memories of an earlier time in your life, even if you were not trying to remember it when the song came on.
Encoding specificity principle
When people encode information, they do so in specific ways
Eg: Take the song on the radio: perhaps you heard it while you were at a terrific party, having a great, philosophical conversation with a friend. Thus, the song became part of that whole complex experience. Years later, even though you haven’t thought about that party in ages, when you hear the song on the radio, the whole experience rushes back to you.
To the extent a retrieval cue (the song) matches or overlaps the memory trace of an experience (the party, the conversation), it will be effective in evoking the memory.
Cue overload principle
To be effective, a retrieval cue cannot be overloaded with too many memories
For a retrieval cue to be effective, a match must exist between the cue and the desired target memory; furthermore, to produce the best retrieval, the cue-target relationship should be distinctive.
Measuring memory
performance
Production tests
Recognition tests
How psychologists measure memory performance; Involving recall
Involving the selection of correct from incorrect information, e.g., a multiple-choice test
Eg: With our list of 100 words, one group of people might be asked to recall the list in any order (a free recall test)
Eg: While a different group might be asked to circle the 100 studied words out of a mix with another 100, unstudied words (a recognition test)
In this situation, the recognition test would likely produce better performance from participants than the recall test.
Testing effect /
The retrieval practice effect
The act of retrieval itself (of a fact, concept, or event) makes the retrieved memory much more likely to be retrieved again
Retrieval-induced forgetting
Retrieving some information can actually cause us to forget other information related to it
Peg word technique
You would have a set of peg words on which you could “hang” memories
Memory palaces
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