7.1 | Memory Systems Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY100H1: Introduction to Psychology (Winter 2016) with J. Vervaeke > 7.1 | Memory Systems > Flashcards

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The Atkinson-Shiffrin Model

  • stores: retain information in memory without using it for any specific purpose
    • the three stores include: sensory memory, short-term memory (STM), and long-term memory (LTM)
  • control processes: shift information from one memory store to another
  • attention: the control process that selects which information will be passed on to STM
  • encoding: the process of storing information in the LTM system
  • retrieval: brings information from LTM back into STM 


Sensory Memory

  • sensory memory: a memory store that accurately holds perceptual information for a very brief amount of time
    • iconic memory: the visual form of sensory memory, is held for 0.5-1 second
    • echoic memory: the auditory form of sensory memory, is held for about 5 seconds
  • George Sperling: in an experiment, researchers flashed a grid of letters on the screen for a split second and participants had to report what they saw
    • he concluded that iconic memory could hold all the letters as a mental image, but that they would only remain in sensory memory long enough for a few of the letters to be reported


Change Blindness | Sensory Memory

  • change blindness: the relationship between sensory memory and attention; participants view two nearly identical versions of a photograph (or some other stimulus), these stimuli will have only one difference between them
  • if the difference item within the two photographs is not the focus of attention, people generally fail to notice the change
  • this is because one version of the changing item fades from sensory memory just as the next version appears
  • if the participant is paying attention to the changing element, the image of the first version of that item will be transffered into STM when the second (changed version) appears on the screen


Short-Term Memory

  • short-term memory (STM): a memory store with limited capacity and duration (less than a minute) 
  • The Magical Number 7 ± 2: the capacity of STM 
  • chunking: organizing smaller units of information into larger, more meaningful units 
  • the ability to chunk varies from situation to situation; experience or expertise plays a role in our ability to chunk large amounts of information so that it fits into our STM


Long-Term Memory

  • not all of the information that enters STM is retained; a large proportion of it is lost forever.
  • this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, e.g. imagine if every piece of information you thought about remained accessible in your memory; your mind would be filled with an incredible amount of trivial information from other people 
  • encoding allows information to enter the final memory store in the Atkinson-Shiffrin model
  • long-term memory (LTM): holds information for extended periods of time, if not permanently 
  • once information enters the LTM, there's two ways in which it's organized:
    • one, based on semantic categories; e.g. the mental representation of cat is connected to and stored near the mental representations of other animals such as dog and mouse
    • two, based on sounds of the word and on how the word looks
    • tip of the tongue (TOT) phenomenon: when you're able to retrieve similar sounding words or words that start with the same letter but you can't quite retrieve the word you actually want
  • the likelihood that a given piece of information will undergo retrieval—the process of accessing memorized information and returning it to short-term memory—is influenced by a number of different factors including the quality of the original encoding and the strategies used to retrieve the information 


Distinguishing Short-Term from Long-Term Memory Stores

  • serial position effect: in general, most people will recall the first few items from a list and the last few items, but only an item or two from the middle
  • primacy effect: the first few items are remembered easily
  • recency effect: the last few items are also remembered well
  • proactive interference: a process in which the first information learned (e.g. in a list of words) occupies memory, leaving fewer resources left to remember the new information
  • retroactive interference: the most recently learned information overshadows some older memories that have not yet made it into long-term memory


The Working Memory Model: An Active STM System

  • rehearsal: repeating information until you do not need to remember it anymore 
  • working memory: a model of short-term remembering that includes a combination of memory components that can temporarily store small amounts of information for a short period of time 
  • the classic working memory model for short-term remembering can be subdivided into three storage components, each of which has a specialized role


The Phonological Loop

  • phonological loop: a storage component of working memory that relies on rehearsal and that stores information such as sounds, or an auditory code 
  • word-length effect: people remember more one-syllable words (sum, pay, bar, etc.) than four- or five-syllable words (helicopter, university, alligator, etc.) in a short-term-memory task 
  • despite the fact that both bar and alligator are single chunks, you remember more chunks if they are single syllables 
  • working memory can store as many syllables as can be rehearsed in about two seconds, and that this information is retained for approximately 15 seconds 


The Visuospatial Sketchpad

  • visuospatial sketchpad: a storage component of working memory that maintains visual images and spatial layouts in a visuospatial code 
  • items stored in visuospatial memory can be counted based on shapes, colours, and textures.
    • can a smooth, square-shaped, red block count as one chunk? or do texture, shape, and colour of the block act as three separate units of information
    • research has consistently shown that a square-shaped block painted in two colours is just as easy to recognize as the same-shaped block painted in one colour 
  • feature binding: the process of combining visual features into a single unit; after feature binding, visuospatial memory can accurately retain approximately 4 whole objects (regardless of how many individual features are on those objects)


The Episodic Buffer

  • episodic buffer: a storage component of working memory that combines the images and sounds from the other two components into coherent, story-like episodes 
  • is the most recently hypothesized working memory system, and seems to hold 7 to 10 pieces of information, which may be combined with other memory stores 
  • but, when people are asked to read and remember meaningful prose, they usually remember 7 to 10 more words than when reading a random list of unrelated words 


The Central Executive

  • central executive: the control centre of working memory; it coordinates attention and the exchange of information among the three storage components
  • e.g. if you were to look at letters or characters from a foreign language, you may not be able to convert them to sounds; thus you would assign them to the visuospatial sketchpad instead 


Long-Term Memory Systems: Declarative and Nondeclarative Memories

  • declarative memories (or explicit memories): memories that we are consciously aware of and that can be verbalized, including facts about the world and one’s own personal experiences
  • nondeclarative memories (or implicit memories): actions or behaviours that you can remember and perform without awareness 


Declarative Memory

  • episodic memories: declarative memories for personal experiences that seem to be organized around “episodes” and are recalled from a first-person (“I” or “my”) perspective 
  • semantic memories: declarative memories that include facts about the world 
  • your semantic memory is your knowledge of what a bike is, whereas episodic memory is the memory of a specific time when you rode a bike
  • as people get older, their episodic memory declines more rapidly than their semantic memory 


Nondeclarative Memory

  • nondeclarative memory occurs when previous experiences influence performance on a task that does not require the person to intentionally remember those experiences
  • procedural memories: patterns of muscle movements (motor memory)
    • e.g. how to walk, play piano, or drive a car 
    • we often don’t think of the individual steps involved in these behaviours, yet we execute them flawlessly most of the time 
  • classical conditioning is another form of nondeclarative memory; although the associations can sometimes be consciously recalled, this recollection is not necessary for conditioning to successfully take place 
  • priming: based on the idea that previous exposure to a stimulus will affect an individual’s later responses, either to that same stimulus or to something related to it 


Memory at the Neutral Level

  • memory at the cellular level can be summed up in the following way: cells that fire together, wire together 
  • long-term potentiation (LTP): demonstrated that there is an enduring increase in connectivity and transmission of neural signals between nerve cells that fire together
    • LTP is not memory—no one has linked the strengthening of a particular synapse with a specific memory 
    • the strengthening of synapses shown in LTP studies may be one of the underlying mechanisms that allow memories to form
  • consolidation: the process of converting short-term memories into long-term memories in the brain 
    • cellular consolidation: when neurons fire together a number of times, they will adapt and make the changes more permanent 


Memory, the Brain, and Amnesia

  • amnesia: a profound loss of at least one form of memory 
  • anterograde amnesia: the inability to form new memories for events occurring after a brain injury 
  • without the hippocampus, new cortical networks will never be formed because the original LTP and consolidation processes would not have been completed
    • also essential for spatial memories; e.g. remembering the layout of your house 
    • brain-imaging studies suggest that the size of a person’s hippocampus can vary with the amount of spatial infor- mation that people are asked to consolidate
    • reconsolidation: the hippocampus functions to update, strengthen, or modify existing long-term memories
    • these memories then form networks in different regions of the cortex, where they can (sometimes) be retrieved when necessary
    • cross-cortical storage: long-term declarative memories are distributed throughout the cortex of the brain, rather than being localized in one region
  • with enough use, some of the memory networks will no longer need input from the hippocampus
    • the more that memory is retrieved, the larger and more distributed that network will become
    • newer memories, because they haven’t had as much time to form extensive networks using cross-cortical storage, are more likely to be lost following brain damage 
  • retrograde amnesia: a condition in which memory for the events preceding trauma or injury is lost
    • it can be caused by damage to the medial temporal lobes or to the cortex of the frontal lobes

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