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Describe the case of HM and KC


HM had anterograde amnesia where he could still learn new skills like riding a bike but couldn’t form new memories

Kc had both retrograde and anterograde amnesia (lost all memory’s and can’t form new memories) due to an accident. He’s no longer the same person without those lived experiences. Semantic memory was not lost (general memory/facts about the world).No memory of where he grew up but knows the town
-he has no experiences (personality shifts may happen)


Describe the three basic aspects to memory processes (all three aspects that are necessary for remembering)
-failure in any one of the stages results in forgetting

  1. acquisition/encoding
    (how are memories formed)
    -Take in info in such a way that it will get stuck in long-term memory system
    2 retention and storage
    (how are memories saved?)
    3 retrieval
    - may have retrieval errors (it’s encoded but can’t retrieve it in the moment)
    -how are memories accessed and remembered

Describe the Modal model of memory


Information moves through three systems by a variety of mental processes and mechanisms (e.g. attention and rehearsal)

  • three systems: sensory memory, short-term memory and long-term memory
  • Ackinson and Shiffrin 1968

What is short term memory


A store of info currently being used or to be used soon a.k.a. “working memory”

  • instantly and easily accessed
  • limited capacity (7+/- 2 bits of info)ex phone #s
  • George Miller discovered short term memory and the magic number seven. You can’t increase the span of seven items but you can use chunking to increase the span efficiency of short term memory
  • keep info in your head active and hold it until you need it, there’s little space but this allows for a quick retrieval of info when you need it

Describe the principle of Chunking


A chunk is a quantity of information but not a fixed quantity.
-You can increase the amount of information remembered by putting more into each chunk
-allows you to store the same number of chunks more information in total (less strain on working memory)
Ex. Chunk numbers of your credit card together, 536-1957 -read the last part as a year/chunk of four numbers
-May be specific to the stimuli


Describe the two tests of short term memory

  1. Simple span test/digit span test
    -older test
    -passive test
    -test of storage ( pure)
    (how much can you hold)
    -Central executive does less work
  2. Complex fancast/reading span
    - newer test
    - active test
    - test of storage and processing efficiency
    - Central executive does more work

Why is short term memory now being called working memory


Short term memory is the old term and signifies holding information
-working memory suggests we are active processors (we’re not just holding information but actively processing and transforming information at same time as remembering it)


Describe the Baddeley and hitch model

  • working memory is not a single entity, but a system
  • Central executive: not unlimited,(can I make one of the slave systems do this work?)
  • > multi-purpose processor (work on many different tasks)-> high-level work
  • > coordinates tasks (offloaded to other systems)
  • Two slave systems
  • > Phonological loop (sound based code) a.k.a. rehearsal or Articulary Loop
  • > Visiospatial sketchpad (cannot be done verbally. We like language-based code and therefore the phonological system is bigger/well-developed compared to Visiospatial sketchpad) -when presented with a picture, we will transform visual spatial image into sound base code (unless it’s an abstract picture) and put it in articulatory loop or inner ear

Describe long-term memory

  • Long term storage of information (mental “reference” library)
  • fast in size, perhaps limitless?
  • Slower rate of forgetting
  • accessibility: must be searched; info not instantly accessible (so much more stuff in long-term memory compared to other systems- have to file through)
  • most information lies dormant until you start looking for it (what did you do for your six birthday”?)

What’s in long-term memory? (3)

  1. Semantic memory
    - generalize world knowledge/facts you’ve learned (i.e. provinces of Canada )

2 episodic memory
-personally experienced; autobiographical (remember learning about the provinces of Canada in grade6 and you can picture your teacher pointing to map, you member feeling bored)

3 procedural memory

  • very different than above
  • how to do things (know how to ride a bike, how to move your body and balance)

Relate the three types of long-term memory to consciousness and brain-damage

  • hard to convey procedural memory because they are less available to consciousness, harder to verbalize.
  • Episodic memory most prone to damage ( HM lost ability to learn new episodic memory but not semantic or procedural memory, he could still learn to play the piano but not remember learning it. )
  • Procedural memory quite robust (need a lot of damage to have difficulties with procedural memory)

What is the importance of rehearsal


-dramatically increases the likelihood of remembering material.
-early memory theories throught type of rehearsal not important
Ie. Atkinson and Shiffin… amount of time in STM determined likelihood of getting into long term memory (we now know this is not the case)


What are the two types of rehearsal


1 maintenance rehearsal: simple/easy/studying ( list names and repeat to memorize)

  • Rote, mechanical process
  • recycling items through working memory

2 elaborative rehearsal (relational rehearsal)

  • making connections
  • meaning of the to be remembered items, relationship with other items.
  • More effortful, but promote better recall
  • provides more retrieval cues or retrieval paths

Describe the deep vs shallow levels of processing

-who started studying it?

  • Craik and Lockhart 1972 focus on the processes involved in memory
    1. shallow processing: what’s it rhyme with, look like (blue ink)
  • structural, phonemic
  • maintenance rehearsal
  1. Deep processing
    - what’s the meaning of the word/is it pleasant or not, what’s that have to do with me, does it remind you of something, relate it to self
    - semantic, self referential
    - elaborative rehearsal, more elaborative and therefore encoded in a stronger way
    - generally deep is better than shallow (remember more) -> exception is if the test assesses shallow details (ie. here are the words in different fonts, remember what they were)

Describe incidental learning


Learning in the absence of intention to learn. -Intention seems to influence strategy selection/type of rehearsal
-depth of processing was more important to learning compared to the intention to learn (there was the best recall from the participants who were asked to engage in deep processing(meaningful, elaborative) whether they were told to remember it or not/whether they intended to learn or not)


What are mnemonics and what are the two types


Specific techniques used to aid recall of material (improve memory) that often rely on organization and imagery

  1. Elaboration coding mnemonics
    - add extra stuff in to try and remember (very effortful to do)
    - Pegword mnemonic (memorize an organizational structure like a poem -one is a bun to his shoe- has rhymes and is numbered)
    - > method of loci:Old method = remembering along a familiar pathway
  2. Reduction coding mnemonics
    - reduce amount to remember
    e. g. acronyms- ROYGBIV, BEDMAS

What is clustering


Strong tendency to recall items in an organized manner

  • clustered into categories with free recall task
  • idiosyncratic clusters with material that appears unrelated
    • note, clustering(in long-term memory on the way out) is different than chunking(in the short term memory on the way in)
  • The list of words goes into the head disorganized but we cluster things in order to remember by similarities. Food, people, whether -organization helps with better recall and sometimes if read slower you can make semantic story to remember better

Describe the importance of understanding in relation to remembering material

  • Optimal organization depends on the level of understanding of the material.
  • Organization helps aid recall
  • people can more easily recall a passage with a title that clarifies the story
  • *Understanding is the best organizational strategy or mnemonic device to aid in remembering for long-term memory

Describe the accessibility vs availability of information and long-term memory debate


Do we forget the information(not available) in long-term memory or is it still there(encoded) and we just not retrieve it(unaccessible)
-Will probably never answer which is true


Describe Penfield’s, Nelson’s and Ebbinghau’s evidence against forgetting in long-term memory


Penfield electrically stimulated parts of the brain to trigger patients memories (indicates that the information is there but not always remembered?)

-Nelson made a word pair experiment which found that providing initial portions of a sequence renders greater retrieval access to that sequence than medial components (stem-target)

-Ebbinghau’s relearning task and saving score, working with retention. Discovered forgetting curve. He was his own test subject
(The ones he relearned were easier to learn than new items)
-each time he relearned the list it was easier and faster because there is still something “in there”
- he suggested maybe forgetting is not really forgetting but inability to get info out


Encoding specificity

  • Endel Tulving
  • at encoding: to be remembered stimulus and other cues as well
  • at retrieval: other cues act as retrieval cues (improve access to to be remembered item)

-when you and code TBR information you also may in code multiple other aspects of the environment. These other aspects may act as retrieval cues later on (signifies the importance of context dependent learning)


How do we test memory

  1. Ability to recall-something from a specific episode
    -must be able to access the specific memory trace
    -dependent on source memory
    Ie. short answer questions
  2. Recognition – identify/recognize something
    – must be able to access the memory trace OR be familiar with the item
    -role of familiarity and source memory
  3. Remember/know (R/K) judgements
    - do you have a deep understanding of concept/to be remembered thing or do you just kinda know that it’s right

What are the implications for context and state dependent memory and elaborative versus rote rehearsal


There are stronger effect for recall than recognition in context and state dependent memory

-elaborative rehearsal prepares you for recall and recognition (more flexible), whereas rote prepares you for recognition more than recall (not as flexible) for retrieval processes


What is implicit and explicit memory and how are they tested

  • effortful/deliberate vs automatic
  • conscious versus unconscious
  • verbal versus non-verbal
  • declarative versus procedural

Explicit memory is memory that you are aware of
-tested with direct memory testing.

Implicit memory is memory without awareness
(forgetting the source of information and miss interpreting it as something else)

-we are often not aware of what we know (HM)
-tested with indirect memory testing (don’t address the source memory)
(word stem completion tasks-car-wash, Lexial decision tasks, perceptual identification tasks)
-lots of stores memory give solutions of familiarity
-distinct from explicit memory because it’s not fully conscious


What is the false fame task and what did it show


“How to be famous overnight study”

  • Jacoby
  • participants presented with a list of non-famous names, after 24 hour delay they tended to recall previously presented names as famous
  • Forget the source of the familiarity, falsely attribute it to fame

-showed the implicit memory effect
(if you explicitly remembered the name from last day, you would say that name is not famous, but your implicit memory stays there and drives the false fame effect)


What is the illusion of truth


Given a series of true and false statementsand asked to give credibility ratings. Previously presented statements were more credible the second time it was heard (even when they had been identified as false)

  • this is because familiarity creates the illusion of truth
  • Practical implications: damage of rumors/propaganda. Still has an affect even when later identified as false
    • The more times you hear the lie, the more believable it becomes
  • > explicit memory fades fast but implicit memory stays there for a long time

Compare the developmental trends of explicit and implicit memory


-Implicit memory is the first in and last out, it is preserved throughout life (it doesn’t drop/it’s stable)
-explicit memory peaks in early adulthood and slowly declines afterwards. If there’s damage to memory, most likely it’s to explicit memory.
You almost never see damage to implicit memory system.
-Those who say the systems are different look to brand image


What is amnesia


Loss of memory due to injury or illness


Describe the 5 types of Amnesia- 3 main types (R,A,AS,D,O)

  1. Retrograde amnesia: disruption for things learned prior to the event.
  2. Anterograde amnesia: disruption for things learned after the event
  3. Amnesic syndrome: no attentional deficits, intact cognitive functions, preserved memory for language, skills and over-learned personal knowledge- has anterograde and sometimes retrograde amnesia
  4. Dissociative (Psychogenic) Amnesia: aka fugue state or soap opera Amnesia

-no obvious organic cause; loss of memory as a result of emotional trauma/crisis (psychological reasons, not physical)
-memory may come back after a few days I.e. Lumberjack and Jane Dee/Jody Roberts
-Motivated forgetting? E.g. after a violent crime
(forget because of trauma or because they don’t want to remember, could be used against them)

  1. Organic amnesia: variety of causes-head injury, stroke, variety of diseases

Describe what memory tends to be preserved and what tends to be disrupted



  • working memory – rarely impacted
  • semantic memory – but not always!
  • procedural/implicit memory- pleasantness ratings, procedural knowledge

-episodic/autobiographical memory – can be either Anterograde or retrograde deficits (but anterograde more common)


Describe Korsakoff’s syndrome


-Long term alcohol abuse, thiamin deficiency
– damage to the diencephalon (regulates activity in cortex, so area is under active)
-typically unaware of profound memory deficits
– often accompanied by emotional changes i.e. apathy or mild euphoria
-lose emotional response (no real highs or lows)
-don’t care about anything
-blackout periods, don’t engage much in conversation (don’t produce a lot of cues for others to notice their deficits)


What is confabulation


It is a memory error defined as the production of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive example: making up an answer on how they got a cut or bruise


Memory is not a true recording of events, it isn’t perfect

What are the seven sins of memory

  1. Transience: we lose access to info overtime
    2.absent mindlessness:inattention, superficial or automatic processing
  2. Blocking: temporary retrieval failure, i.e. tip of the tongue phenomenon
  3. misattribution: add to getting something to an incorrect source
    5 suggestibility: incorporation of info provided by others (end up falsely remembering something that you didn’t see)
  4. Bias: distortion due to previous knowledge, beliefs and feelings (interpret differently I.e. I was a good kid)
  5. Persistence: failure to forget (even unpleasant events) due to intrusive recollection or rumination
    -deeply traumatic events – PTSD

Describe the reconstructive nature of memory by explaining the studies by Frederick Bartlett and Bransford and Johnson


Bartlett-create a story called “war of the ghosts” that had an atypical story format and content

  • when participants recalled the story they had many systematic errors and tended to “normalize” the story
  • The story was changing a very similar ways across different people when they were asked to recall it. They were returned the story in a way that was normal for them. They omitted the ghost part(wasn’t use to supernatural)
  • when something doesn’t make sense, they didn’t add it back into their memory/ they reshaped memory according to what was traditional/comfortable/common to them

-recall of story depended on the title and people often failed to recall inconsistent information


Describe intrusion errors and the study by Brewers and Treyen


Refer to when information that is related to the theme of a certain memory, but was not actually part of the original episode, becomes associated with the event (add in information that wasn’t there)

-The “academic office study” where many participants remembered seeing books in the office when they’re actually wasn’t any. This was because it was consistent with their ideas about how an office should look


Describe Katz’ baseball study


People are asked to predict which baseball team would win.
They were asked sometime later how well they thought they did on this task
-Recall of performance becomes consistent with perceived ability/knowledge level of baseball
-The people who thought they were experts thought they did better in the task (inflated their memory)
-The people who knew they were not experts exflated their memory, thought they did worse than they did
*Who we think we are will influence/bias what we recall
-we alter our memories to fit what is expected or typical which may result in omissions, intrusions, or other types of errors


What are schemata (schemas) and scripts?


Prior knowledge guides our perception, interpretation, and memory of objects/events

Schema: A pattern of knowledge of what is typical or frequent in a particular situation ex. Kitchen schema
Scripts: tell you what’s normal/typical and help you remember things i.e. restaurant script – greeted by server gonna ask if you have a reservation, bring you to table, give you a menu, give you a drink, etc.


how does schemas relate to attention


They help guide attention during encoding to features that are unusual or a atypical – helps to conserve resources
-you notice the things that don’t seem normal/not the normal things


What are schemata based errors


Errors that are consistent with our schemas

  • they are very regular and predictable
  • may help us fill in gaps in memory
  • schema based reconstruction: remember things that fit your schema (dr. Thomas remembered seeing the double doored fridge)

What is Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) word lists


List of highly associated words(dream, pillow, tired etc) – recall of critical non presented lure(sleep)
-indicated false memories


Describe eyewitness memory


-Elizabeth Loftus study on car accidents
-participants said they remembered the crash to be more serious/intense(cars went faster with glass shattered around) when the questioner used the word smashed versus hit
-asking questions in a certain way can alter details, suggest details, or presuppose details
(can distort or contaminate or change their memories creating false memories)


What are some characteristics to short term memory


-Limited store, but able to store a variety of kinds of materials
-can be auditory, olfactory, verbal, and aesthetic
-material must be actively maintained otherwise it will fade easily from the store
-there is rapid forgetting if material is not rehearsed or kept active in short term memory
Ie remembering a new phone number before you dial it


Describe the Brown-Peterson task

  • experimental task where they recalled a 3 letter stimuli after a delay and counted backwards by 3s after a delay
  • The longer you had to hold something in memory, the more you would forget (beautiful example of decay-more time goes by the more you forget)
  • can’t hold it in STM for long without processing it in some way

Describe retroactive and proactive interference


Retroactive interference: new material interferes with the old. You can’t remember the old information because you memorized the new information (use to writing the new address and forget the old one)

Proactive interference: order materials interfere with new materials, forward in time(your ability to learn new information is interfered with the old information) -can’t remember new password because u are used to writing the old password


What is release from interference


A game where you have to match cards laying face down
-More you do the same thing the more the proactive situation will build up making it harder to learn new stuff. If you repeat stimuli three times you should have a decrease in ability to remember the list. But when changing the nature of the stimulus/list, you should increase your score/ability to remember and can break free from proactive interference


What is the serial position curve


Related to short term memory performance. This is a remarkably reliable effect.
-presented with a series of words, it asked to recall as many as possible. Results in a U-shaped curve (serial position curve) where participants remember information at the beginning and end of the list but less in the middle

  • primacy effect seems to be due to rehearsal ( items get into long-term memory )
  • recency effect seems to be due to working memory (last few items do not get bumped out of working memory)-if we do something to disrupt your memory (example: alarm), you do not remember the last listed items/recently effect
  • different brain regions involved with both effects

Describe the Word length effect


If it takes you longer to say the word then it will take up more space in your short term memory storage suggesting that most of our store is the phonological/we prefer sounds
Ex. Cuba versus Afghanistan


Describe the sound alike errors versus look-alike errors


We may mistake B for the letter Z or D because they sound alike but we won’t recall F as E because they look-alike


What are the limits to the misinformation effect

  • virtually everyone is suggestible, but some individual differences make people more suggestible
  • Less susceptible if warned of misinformation effect
  • Less susceptible too obvious/implausible suggestions
  • more susceptible to people with poor memory for original event or who have lower IQ
  • if you can form a mental image while hearing the misinformation, more likely to believe it

What are the potential causes of the misinformation effect


-updating/destructive overwriting suggested but not true
-Gap in memory/Misinformation fills in gap
-source misattributions(source monitoring theory-don’t remember where the information came from)
-schema based reconstructions-insert what we believe to be there (may protect you from implausible suggestions)
-trace versus gist memory:
Trace= weak memory (what actually happened verbatim)
Gist memory= main things that happened (may be more suggestible overtime)


Give an example to how eyewitness testimony is not always accurate


Jennifer Thompson misidentified Ronald cotton as the man who raped her and he spent 11 years in prison for a crime he did not commit


Compare simultaneous vs sequential presentations


Simultaneous-please prefer this one. Show all at once and look back and forth
Sequential-present one at a time then move onto the next person/picture. Cognitive psychologist like this one more because it gives a better judgement and less likely to have a false identification -reduces false alarms and sending an innocent person to prison
* there is still debate to which is better – both lead to different kinds of errors – send wrong person to jail or let the bad one go


What is hypnosis (how is it used to try and improve recall)

  • used to try and get people to remember more information at the police station
  • influence by Freud
  • no convincing evidence that you recall more
  • evidence is influenced confidence (if confident, we tend to believe them, but it still may not be accurate)
  • May increase suggestibility- easier to slip in misinformation and change their memory
  • there’s legal restrictions on “hypnotically refreshed” memories in many US states and in Canada (not allowed for criminal cases in Canada because there’s no research to back it up that it actually accurately improves memory)

What is hypermnesia

  • opposite of amnesia
  • suddenly being able to remember something you previously thought you forgot
  • the “unforgetting process”
  • often found with word lists after repeated recalls

What is the cognitive interview


Developed by Fisher, Geiselman and colleagues to promote recall by making use of multiple strategies

  1. Reconstruct environmental context (make retrieving same as encoding)
  2. Reconstruct personal and emotional context
  3. Recall all details even insignificant ones- may cue them for other memories
  4. Recall in multiple sequences (go through it backwards, start in the middle etc.)
    - questioners use general, open ended questions
    - it’s a lengthy process so police may choose bits but not the whole thing

What is the weapon focus

  • indicates how emotions/arousal can direct or focus our attention.
  • Arousal leads to a narrowing of our focus of attention where we encode central but not peripheral details (weapon focus-danger source)
  • if a gun is pointed at you, you’ll remember everything about the gun but nothing else (what was the background, their eye colour etc.)
  • seems to have implications for suggestibility

What are flashbulb memories


Extremely vivid, seemingly well preserved memories (almost verbatim, like a picture)
-the “Now print!” Mechanism (take a picture, flashbulb goes off, and you print the picture/preserve it)
-are these memories really accurate? No, reconstructing memory every time we recall it – changes over time and eventually it gets set into a certain newly constructed format
Ex. Memory of what you were doing at the time of 911
-role of rehearsal in preserving (and elaborating?) the memories
-tend to be consequential events


Describe Bahrick’s high school studies


Involved participants a varying ages

  • for some people it was as long as 48 years since they graduated and they could still remember people they went to school with and haven’t seen since (with high accuracy rate)
  • asked to identify classmates (their photos and their names)
  • recall of languages learned in high school
  • 90% accuracy and face and name recognition after 34 years
  • decreased recall initially then levels off
  • we are better at recognition compared to recall
  • suggests we have a permastore for well learned material or material that continues to be used

What is infantile amnesia?what influences the age of first memories


A.k.a. childhood

  • amnesia the memories before age 2 to 4
  • paucity of memories for early childhood.
  • some individual variation in age of first memory sex, I Q, verbal ability
  • women tend to have younger first memories, higher IQ and early ability to talk also associated with having earlier memories

What is the possible causes of infantile amnesia

  1. failure to encode and store information
    - but evidence even infants can recall
  2. Depression and scream memories ( Freud) - said we should have a few negative memories because we scream them out (not true)
  3. Differences in infant and adult schemata
    - early memories cannot be decoded by the adult system
    - importance of language in schemata (allows you to share experiences and develop adult like schemas that relate to others)
  4. development of self schema - sense of self
    - necessary for autobiographical memory??? – Develops for social reasons (to share with others)
    - sense of self develops at a very young age

What are the advantages of forgetting

  1. Quantity of information and retrievability
    - May increase speed and accuracy, or reliability of retrieval
    - conservation of resources (we don’t notice the unimportant things we forget)

Describe Luria’s case study of S

  • S had extra ordinary memory (seemingly photographic) he had 5 sense crossed synaesthesia
  • he had difficulty in thinking in abstract terms, he focussed on the surface and not the deeper meaning (maybe awkward personality )
  • he tried to figure out ways to make him forget information that was unimportant and clogged up his memory system

What are the networks, nodes, connections?


A network – series of linked node’s.

Node’s – detectors or node’s

– strength of connection/Association/link
– excitatory (increase firing of connected nodes) or inhibitory (decrease firing)


What is baseline activation and how is it determined?


The detectors activation level prior to any inputs

  • resting level
  • determined by how recently it has fired(more recent=higher baseline), how frequently it has fired more (more frequent=higher baseline)

What is response threshold


The activation level at which the detector responds


Describe spreading activation


Importance of the number of links, strength of the links and the nature of the links


Describe the older model for organizing information proposed by Collins and Quillian
-what is the cognitive economy


They assumed information was organized hierarchically (meaning that they thought concepts were organized from higher order categories-animals- down to lower order categories-bird-and their exemplars-canary )

  • no redundancy
  • according to principle of cognitive economy which means that our brain is efficient, we store properties at highest possible node-property of breathing is stored at the top instead of at each node)
  • takes longer to verify that an ostrich is a bird than a canary is a bird
  • this model is wrong but historical (marks a change in ways of thinking)

How are the newer models of organizing information different from Collins and Quillian’s model


Many are associative network models not hierarchically organized that employ spreading activation


What is semantic priming


We can be primed by an item related to another item

ie. bread – butter compared to bread or bread – notebook
- a response to a target ( e.g. dog) is faster when it is preceded by a semantically related prime (e.g. cat) compared to an unrelated prime (eg. car)

-activation spreads through all the connected links from Dog -fur, bark, cute, cats, puppies -
cats will also get some of the activation when the word dog is activated
-then seeing the word cat, you can respond faster because it has been semantically primed


What is sentence verification

  • Collins and Quillian model
  • typicality effects ( recognize more typical things faster ) ie salmon versus shark

-“A shark is a fish” true or false?


What are Fan effects


Number of links= degree of fan
Fan= The number of associations correlated with the concept ( dogs have more associations then aardvarks)
-activation spreads equally

Low fan items should be better primes – but they aren’t!
-possible confound = frequency (high power of the frequency effect washes out or counteracts the fan effect)
- the things we know the most about, we see the most in the world
Ie. dog has a higher degree of fan than aardvark


Describe local representation vs distributed representation


Local representation:
– older notion
– single node = single concept

distributed representation:
– newer notion
- concept = pattern of activation across multiple nodes
– closer to neural network (the brain) and more resistant to damage


Describe ACT*/ACT-R (propositional network model)

  • John Anderson
  • uses propositions which are the smallest unit of language that can be either true or false
  • type(General category) and token nodes(A specific instance of a category)
  • Time and location incorporated as part of proposition

What are TOT states and the ugly sister effect


TOT states or tip of the tongue phenomenon -where you can’t retrieve something from memory (retrieval blocks)

-The “ugly sister” effect is another similar thing that comes to mind when you’re trying to remember something but you know it’s wrong and you keep thinking of it, increasing its activation
“I want to say his name is Max but I know that’s not it”


What is the homunculus


Little man in the brain that decides things
- “it’s this kind of link”
– not actual explanation
-should be avoided in network models


Define concept and category


Concept: and internal, mental representation of the properties of an object or events
Category: a mental “ pigeonhole” into which objects or events with common properties are placed
-can be used interchangeably


What is the concept identification task


A task that requires deciding if an item is a member of a given category or not. “Is this a dog?”


What is the classical view of concepts

Order theory – grew out of philosophy (likely wrong)
-necessary and sufficient conditions 
(Bachelor – must be a male=necessary
giving birth= a mother, but don't have to give birth to be a mom -not required but sufficient)
->like a dictionary definition 
-the problem of exceptions to the rule
-> especially for natural categories
- implications:
 – strict concept boundaries
 – all members within category are equal

What is the family resemblance threory


-from philosopher Wittgenstein
-Suggests there are features that are common within a family
– also within a concept/category
- these features are not necessary or sufficient
-simply shared or common
-more like a problematic definition


What is the Prototype theory


Specifies that centre rather than the boundaries of the concept.
-Concept identification = similarity to the prototype
(if close enough, then identified-making similarity judgements )
- prototype maybe average or ideal.
-Prototypes acquired/developed as a result of experience – therefore, individual differences are possible
I.e. is the picture of the dog close enough to my prototype of this concept to say that it’s a dog? If not close enough, then say no, it’s not a dog
-because Proto type to come from experiences they may vary slightly.
-Crossing cultural boundaries/location may have different prototypes or representations of certain concepts are categories (Canadian candy versus Japanese candy)


What are the two properties of the Prototype theory?

  1. Graded membership:
    - some members are better examples of a concept than others – if they’re closer to the Prototype, they’re a better example
    - for example a Robin may be a better example for a bird than a penguin

What is the evidence for Prototypes

  • sentence verification tasks: more likely to say a Robin is a bird versus a penguin is a bird
  • production tasks: tend to list prototypical members more frequently and at the top of the list ie. when listing drugs we may list weed at the top or listing flowers we may list rose at the top
  • Picture identification tasks: faster for prototypical examples

What influences judgements of category membership

  • typicality ratings determine our willingness to extrapolate from given information (induction tasks)
  • I.e. if a new disease has been discovered in a bird, people are more likely to say this disease will affect other birds if a Robin has the disease compared to if a penguin has it

What are basic level categories


Means that people, even those in different cultures, tend to categories objects in similar ways

  • sufficiently descriptive, but not overly so
  • used spontaneously, easier to reason about, easy to describe, learned first by kids

Ie. what is this?🛋 -it is furniture (The super ordinary category), more specifically it is a chair (the basic level) and even more specifically it is a Chippendale chair (more specific descriptors)