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Flashcards in Memory Deck (21)
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Sensory Memory

Sensory memory < 1 s
Iconic (visual) memory
Echoic (auditory) memory
Registers information about the environment and holds it for a very brief period of time
After brief exposure (e.g., 50 ms), observers are asked to recall the letters

Observers are able to report 3–6 letters


Short-term (or working) memory

Short-term (or working) memory 1-10 s
Central executive
Visuospatial sketchpad
Phonological loop
Episodic buffer


Long term memory

Long-term memory > 10 s
Declarative (explicit) memory
Non-declarative (implicit) memory


Findings of sensory memory

Observers are also aware that there were more letters
Because presentation was very brief, observers did not have enough time to read and rehearse them

These findings suggest that:
Many items are stored in memory initially
While they are still in memory, observers can attend to some of the items and report them
But they fade away quickly—that’s why observers can report only 3–6 items
-Does not last long


Sensory memory (iconic)

Visual sensory memory


Sensory memory (echoic)

Auditory sensory memory


Short term memory

An intermediate system in which information has to reside on its journey from sensory memory to long-term memory

Atkinson and Shiffrin’s (1968) theory
Proposes that as information is rehearsed in a limited-capacity short-term memory, it is deposited in long-term memory
Short-term memory has a limited capacity to hold information

Memory span
The number of elements one can hold in short-term memory store
It is usually around seven


Short term versus long term

Different capacity limits—the 7±2 limit does not apply to long-term memory
Damage to the medial temporal lobe can cause severe impairment of long-term memory but it does not affect short-term memory


Long term declarative

Memories for facts and events
You can explicitly remember these memories
Also called explicit memory


Non-declarative long term

Memories that you cannot explicitly retrieve (e.g., motor skills)
Also called implicit memory


Memory encoding

The way information is processed affects how well it is encoded in long-term memory
Depth (levels) of processing (Craik & Lockhart, 1972)
Information that is processed in a deep and meaningful manner will be better encoded


Depth of processing

Slamecka and Graf’s (1978) study
Generate condition
What is a synonym of sea that begins with the letter o? (ocean)
What is a rhyme of save that begins with the letter c? (cave)
Read condition
Participants just read a rhyme pair or a synonym pair

Task: recognition of the second word of a pair
Synonym pairs were better recognized

The generate condition yielded better recognition performance

Both are effects of deeper processing


Incidental vs intentional learning

Depth of processing, not whether one intends to learn, can determine the amount of material remembered



Penfield and Roberts (1959)
Electrically stimulated patients’ brain during surgery
When the temporal lobe was stimulated, patients reported memories that they were unable to remember in normal recall


Nelson forgetting

Participants learned number-noun pairs
2–4 weeks later, they performed recall or recognition tests
They relearned the pairs they missed in test, but some of them were changed
They performed the memory test one more time
Results from Nelson’s (1971) study
In the second test, unchanged pairs were recalled/recognized better
Suggest that memory for missed pairs in the first test was not gone completely

Even when people appear to have forgotten memories, sensitive tests can find evidence of some of them


Decay theory

Memory traces decay in strength with time


The interference theory

Memory traces become less accessible due to increasing interference


Interference effects

Learning new things can cause old memories to be forgotten
As time goes by, you learn more new things, thereby causing more forgetting


Inteference and redundancy

Interference occurs only when one is learning multiple pieces of information that have no intrinsic relationship to one another

In contrast, interference does not occur when the information is redundant



Locke was unhappy as a student at Westminster.
Locke felt fruits were unwholesome for children.
Locke had a long history of back trouble.



Mozart made a long journey from Munich to Paris.
Mozart wanted to leave Munich to avoid a romantic entanglement.
Mozart was intrigued by musical developments coming out of Paris.