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Psychological concepts and processes associated with memory and their relationship to behaviour. “higher” mental processes such as thinking, conceptualising, memory, reasoning etc



Structures and processes involved in the storage and subsequent retrieval of information. Means by which we draw on our past experiences to use this information in the present.


Multi Store Model (Atkinson and Shriffren)

Proposed that memory consisted of three stores: a sensory register, STM and LTM.


What does the multi store model consist of?

- Capacity: how much information can be stored
- Function: what is done with the stored information
- Duration: period of time information can last in the memory stores


Capacity, Function, Duration of STM

30 seconds, 7+-2, holds info for further processing/rehearsal and is mainly auditory.
STM is thoughts, words and images are available for decision making and problem solving


Capacity, Function, Duration of LTM

infinite, infinite,  ”permanent” store of all knowledge/ mainly semantic but can be auditory and visual.


Capacity, Function, Duration of SM

Iconic < 1000ms and Echoic < ½ sec
Limited: info competes for attention
Relay sensory info to attentional centre. Stores all five senses in specific registers
Memory retained for short periods of time (less than 5 seconds), step brain chooses to determine what is important (subconscious)


What is iconic memory?

Temporarily sores sensory info of a visual nature


What is echoic memory?

Temporarily stores sensory info of an auditory nature



Information is encoded from SM to STM only is attended to by sense organs. STM is transferred to LTM through rehearsal where it is 'stored' and can be retrieved



changing information into a form in which the brain is able to store it (must attend to the info)



retaining information in the memory so it can be used later



the ability to locate and recover previously stored information


How is memory mentally represented?

memory is a psychological version of the original sound, thought, object or concept


Brown Peterson Technique

- Used to test function of rehearsal
- involving an interference/prevention of rehearsal thus decays retained info in STM and info successfully transferred to LTM


How can you transfer info from STM to LTM (Types of Rehearsal)

Maintenance rehearsal, Elaborative rehearsal and chunking


Maintenance Rehearsal

meaningless rote repetition of material to be remembered (least effective)


Elaborative Rehearsal

applying meaning to new words in order to retain them in memory (most effective)



material is combined into larger/meaningful group


What is the Information Processing Model

Atkinson and Shriffren suggested that memory is made up of a series of stores - a limited capacity + central hard drive (analogy of computer).
Explains how processes such as sensation, perception, memory are controlled.


Baddley and Hitch's Working Memory Model 1974

- believes STM proposed by Multi Store Model is to simple
- believes STM consists of two slave systems STM maintenance of info and one central executive responsible for organising information and coordinating the slave systems


What are Baddley and Hitch's 4 parts of the STM

Central executive, Phonological loop, visual spatial sketchpad, Episodic buffer


Central executive

- boss of STM
- controls/coordinates the slave systems + relates them to LTM
- controls attention
- sends incoming info to relevant components and stores all sensory info
- enables the STMS to selectively attend to some stimuli and ignore others when 2 activities comes into conflict ie car/phone


Visuospatial Sketchpad

- slave system to CE
- stores, displays and manipulates visual and spatial information held in LTM
- Inner eye
- ie spatial layout of house held in LTM and can be retrieved/displayed on sketchpad.


Phonological loop + 2 parts

- slave system to CE
- deals with spoken and written material (auditory nature)
- Phonological Store – processes incoming information/ holds auditory info for 1/2 seconds. Spoken words enter direct but written must be converted to ACS first.
- Articulatory control process -stores/plans speech production, inner voice rehearsing info (remembering telephone number)


Episodic Buffer

- Links information across domains to form integrated units of visual, spatial and verbal
- Links visual/auditory info with experiences in LTM
- Links LTM to CE
- integrates info from iconic and echoic memory


What are the predictions of the STM Model

- if 2 tasks make use of the same component they cannot be performed together
- if two make use of different components they can be performed together


Two areas of LTM

- Procedural memory
- declarative memory


Procedural memory/ implicit

the way you do things unconsciously/ automatically; the “how to” of memory ie riding bike


Declarative memory/explicit + 2 types

- requires conscious effort, the “what of memory”
- Episodic: memory of your own set of autobiographical events/personal experiences
- Semantic: factual knowledge possessed about the outside world an encyclopaedia of memory.


What are the 3 R's

Recall, Recognition and Relearning


Recall + 2 types

being able to access the information without being cued
1) Free recall: is memory without prompting ie types of atoms.
2)Cued recall: is when aided by relevant information, ie neutron electron and ___?



involves identifying information after experiencing it again, e.g multiple choice questions



involves relearning information that has been previously learned. Makes it easier to remember / recall info in the future and can improve the strength of our memories.
If not relearnt will make recall less free and automatic


Forgetting definition

a failure to access information that had previously been stored in memory


Forgetting causes

- caused by range of different deficiencies in encoding, storage and retrieval.
- ie information stored in STM, was incorrectly heard (encoding problem), or not rehearsed enough and therefore is incomplete in LTM.


Retrieval Failure Theory + Cue dependant forgetting

forgetting occurs because of a failure to use the right, correct, or appropriate cues at a certain time. —> increased by rehearsal and cues.

Cue dependant forgetting “need cues to remember” —> actually in memory it just can’t be accessed.


Interference Theory

- When two pieces of info are similar it leads to a situation called “interference” causing us to forget the difference
- Old or new info produce confusion or competition and as a consequence blocks effective retrieval.
- Proactive and Retroactive


Proactive Interference

interference of old memories on the retrieval of new info


Retroactive Interference

new info interferes with the ability to remember old information


Motivated Forgetting

- self protection defence; strong desire to forget certain things because the memory is either too traumatic, disturbing, anxiety-provoking or upsetting
- Repression and Suppression


What is Repression

keeping distressing (or unpleasant) thoughts buried in the unconscious (un)


What is Suppression

deliberate effort to keep distressing thoughts out of conscious awareness (con)


Decay Theory

- Forgetting occurs because the memory trace (initially formed at learning) tends to gradually fade, or decay, over time
- Loss of info in SM and STM via displacement


Organic Theory

- Forgetting (amnesia or memory loss) occurs due to some brain damage
- damage to different areas leads to differing forms of memory loss


What is Learning?

a relatively permanent change, often of behaviour, that occurs as a result of experience.



the association made by the learner between a stimulus and a response



any variable present in the environment that may trigger a response



an action or behaviour that is exhibited


Classical Conditioning

- stimulus-response theory
- is an association forming between two stimuli, (not normally associated with the response) such that the appearance of that stimulus alone results in the response behaviour.


Neutral Stimulus (NS

any stimulus that produces no relevant responses prior to the classical conditioning process (by association)


Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)

any stimulus that consistently leads to a reflexive response


Conditioned Stimulus (CS)

a previously neutral response that has become associated with stimulus by which it was not previously caused by the classical conditioning process


Unconditioned Response (UCR)

a unlearned, reflexive and involuntary response to a stimulus


Conditioned Response (CR)

a reflexive and involuntary response that has become associated with a stimulus by which it was not previously caused during classical conditioning.


Operant Conditioning

- changing of behaviour by the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired response


Difference between Classical and Operant Conditioning

Whilst classical focuses on changing voluntary behaviours through stimulus, operant conditioning is learning explained by consequences



a consequence that causes behaviour to occur more often. The goal of reinforcement is to strengthen the behaviour and increase the likelihood that it will occur again in the future.


Positive Reinforcement

behaviour increases when it is followed by a pleasant reward


Negative Reinforcement

behaviour increases when it is followed by the removal of an unpleasant reward



is a consequence that causes behaviour to occur less frequently


Positive punishment

behaviour decreases if an negative consequence is given after the behaviour


Negative punishment

behaviour decreases if a pleasant stimulus is removed after the unwanted behaviour


Observational Learning

The environment causes behaviour and learning, and behaviour can change the environment


Factors involved in Observational Learning

- attention (Observers cannot learn unless they pay attention)
- retention(Observers must be able to remember what was happening around them)
- reproduction (must be capable (physically and psychologically) of reproducing act)
- Motivation (only perform if hey have motivation to do so which is enhanced by reinforcement)


Schedules of Reinforcement

Is basically a rule stating which instances of a behaviour will be reinforced ie behaviour might be reinforced every time it occurs or not at all. Can dramatically change the rate and strength.


Continuous Reinforcement Schedules

- the desired behaviour is reinforced every single time it occurs
- best used during the initial stages of learning in order to create a strong association between the behaviour and the response
ie teaching dog to shake, give treat every time
- once response attached can change to partial reinforcement


Partial Reinforcement Schedules

- response is reinforced only after a specified number of responses
- a high, steady rate of responding
-E.g giving a reward to a rat after it presses a bar five times.


Variable Ratio Schedule

- occur when a response is reinforced after an unpredictable number of responses
- produces high steady rate of responding
- giving reward to a rat after one bar press, again after four bar presses, and a third reward after two bar presses. (gambling)


Fixed Interval Schedule:

- first response is rewarded only after a specified amount of time has elapsed
- causes high amounts of responding near the end of the interval, but slower responding immediately after the delivery of the reinforcer
- E.g giving a rat a reward for the first bar press after a 30-second interval has elapsed.


Variable Interval Schedule

- occurs when a response is rewarded after an unpredictable amount of time has passed
- produces a slow, steady rate of response
- E.g giving reward to a rat after the first bar press following a one-minute interval, another for the first response following a five-minute interval, etc


Bobo Doll Experiment

36 boys and 36 girls between 3 and 6 years old
The first experimental group 24 children exposed to aggressive behaviour, whilst the second experimental group of 24 was exposed to non-aggressive model behaviour
Then divided based on sex and shown opposite sex models


Bandura’s Social Learning Theory

- theory emphasises Observational Learning
- believed Learning was a function of observing, retaining and replicating behaviour observed in others
- Modelling: when one observes the behaviour and consequences of another to influence their own thoughts, actions and feelings


Bobo Doll Experiment Findings

Children exposed to the aggressive model were more likely to act in a physically aggressive manner
Boys had more aggression when exposed to aggressive male models than female models


Glanzer and Cunitz Study Results

- showed Serial position effect; tend to remember the first few and last few words than those in middle of a list
- supports existence of seperate LTM/STM
- words early on put in LTM (primacy) as time to rehearse and words later put in STM (recency)


Evaluation of Glanzer and Cunitz

- provides evidence support distinction of LTM/STM in terms of encoding/function/duration
- account for primacy & recency effects.

- oversimplified; suggests that LTM and STM operate in a single unitary store
- Rehearsal far to simple explanation from info in STM to LTM ie we can still recall information we didn’t rehearse (swimming) but not what we have (study notes)


KF Case Study

- supports the STM Model
- suffered brain damage from a motorcycle effected STM
- verbal info effected, visual unaffected
- shows seperate STM parts for visual (VSS) and auditory (PL)


Baddley and Hitch Aim and Method

to investigate if participants can use different parts of WM at the same time

Had to perform two tasks at once. One was a digit span task asking them to repeat a list of numbers and a verbal reasoning task (true or false questions)


Baddley and Hitch Results and Conclusion

As the amount of digits increased they took longer to recall them but only by fraction of sec. Didn't make any more errors in the verbal reasoning tasks as # increased

Verbal tasks used CE, digit tasks used phonological loop. Dual task studies support STMM


Baddley and Hitch Evaluation

- explains a lot more than the multi-store model
- empirically supported
- applies to real life tasks; reading (PL) navigation (VSP)

- little evidence for workings of CE
- not a comprehensive model of memory as only involves STM not LTM
- critics VSP as suggests all spatial info once visual (blind people have spatial awareness)


Little Albert Stimulus and Responses

Neutral Stimulus: Bunny
Unconditional Stimulus: Banging
Unconditional Response: Fear
Conditioned Stimulus: Bang
Conditioned Response: Fear of Bunny


Pavlov's Dog Stimulus and Responses Before, After and During Conditioning

Before Conditioning; Food (Unconditioned Stimulus) —> Salvation (Unconditioned Response)

During Conditioning: Food and Bell (Unconditioned Stimulus) —> Salvation (Unconditioned response)

After Conditioning: Bell (Conditioned Stimulus ) —> Salvation (Conditioned Response


3 types of Learning

Conditioned, Operant and Observational


Behaviour Modification

is the application of classical + operant conditioning techniques
Used to treat psychological problems such as fears/phobias


Techniques for Modifying Behaviour

Token economies
Systematic desensitisation
Positive/Negative Reinforcement (rewards and punishments)


Token Economies

Artificial systems of reward and reinforcement where symbolic markers ( ie fake money) are used to reward behaviour
Criticism; it is effective long term after token is removed


Systematic Desensitisation:

- application of classical conditioning to fears/phobias
Fear response is replaced with a more relaxed response in a step by step process
- Graded exposure: least threatening to the most threatening situation is presented
- e.g seeing a picture of a snake, then seeing a real snake then holding it. Relaxation techniques are used at each step



- type of psychotherapy that helps people to change unhelpful or unhealthy thinking habit, feelings or behaviour

- Used to treat problems such as anxiety, depression, low self esteem, anger, substance abuse etc