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Flashcards in Memory Deck (73):

What is memory?

The process by which we retain information about events which have happened in the past.


What is short-term memory (STM)?

Memory for the present and immediate past.


What is long-term memory (LTM)?

Memory for events that have happened in the more distant past.


What is capacity?

A measure of how much we can fit into our memory. It is represented in terms of bits of information such as numbers.


What is the capacity of STM?

Limited to around 7 items or chunks of information.


What is the capacity of LTM?

Potentially unlimited.


What was research on the capacity of STM?

~ Miller (1956) reviewed psychological research and concluded that the capacity of STM is 7 items (+/-2).
~ He also suggested we can chunk things together to remember things.
~ He wrote his article called "the magic number plus or minus two".

~ Jacobs (1887) used the digit span technique and found that the average span for digits is 9.3, and for letters 7.3.


Evaluate the research done on the capacity of the STM.

❌ Cowan (2001) reviewed a variety of studies on the capacity of STM and concluded that it's likely to be limited to around 4 chunks.
❌ The size of the chunks matter: Simon (1979) found that people had a shorter memory span for larger chunks.
❌ The capacity of STM may not be the same for everyone. E.G. Jacobs found that the digit span increased with age.


What is duration?

Duration is a measure of how long memory lasts before it's no longer available.


What is the duration of STM?

Limited to around 30 seconds.


What is the duration of LTM?

Anywhere from around 2 minutes to 100+ years (a lifetime).


What was the research on duration of the STM?

~ Peterson and Peterson (1959) studied duration using 24 university students.
~ Each p was given a consonant syllable, followed by a 3 digit number (e.g. WRT 303).
~ The p was asked to recall the syllable after an interval.
~ The p's had to count backwards from their 3 digit number in 3's and 4's.
~P's remembered about 90% when there was a 3 second interval and 2% when it was 18 seconds.
~ This suggests that without rehearsals, STM lasts about 20 seconds.


Evaluate the research on duration of STM.

❌ Lacks mundane realism (not a realistic task) and ecological validity (lab experiment).
❌ The counting task may have displaced the syllables in the STM. Reitman (1974) used tones instead of numbers so displacement wouldn't occur, and the STM was longer.


What was the research on the duration of LTM?

~ Bahrick et al (1975) tested 400 people of various ages (17-74) on their memory of their classmates.
~ P's completed a photo recognition test of 50 photos, some from the p's high school yearbook.
~ They also completed a free recall test where they were asked to list the names of people in their class.
~ P's tested within 15 years of graduating were about 90% accurate at identifying faces - after 48 years this dropped to 70%.
~ Free recall was about 60% after 15 years and 30% after 48 years.


Evaluate the research on duration of LTM.

✅ High mundane realism - used photos from their yearbook, based on real life experiences.
✅ High population validity - variety of ages.


What is coding?

The way information is changed so it can be stored in memory. Information enters the Brian via the senses and is stored in various forms such as visual (pictures), acoustic (sounds) or semantic (meaning).


What is the coding of the STM?

Mostly acoustic.


What is the coding of LTM?

Mostly semantic.


What is the research on coding of the STM and the LTM?

~ In a study by Baddeley (1996) p's were asked to learn word lists that were either:
- Acoustically similar but semantically different (e.g. cat, can, car).
-Semantically similar but acoustically different (e.g. large, big, huge).

~ In STM, p's had difficulty remembering the acoustically similar words but not semantically similar - suggests STM codes acoustically.
~ In LTM, p's had difficulty remembering the semantically similar words but not acoustically similar - suggests LTM codes semantically.


Evaluate the research on coding (STM).



Evaluate the research on coding (LTM).

❌ In Braddeley's study, LTM was tested by 20 minutes - it is questionable whether this is really testing LTM.
❌ Frost (1972) showed that LTM recall was related to visual as well as semantic categories.
❌ Nelson and Rothbart (1972) found that evidence of acoustic coding in the LTM.


Who was the Multi-Store Model (MSM) first described by?

Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin in 1968.


Why is the Multi-Store Model called multi store?

Because it consists of 3 memory stores, linked to each other by the processes that enable transfer of information from one store to the next.


What is the Sensory register in the MSM?

Stimulus enters the sensory register, which consists of 5 separate stores; one for each sense.


What are the two main stores of the sensory register?

~ Iconic memory (where visual information is visually coded)
~ Echoic memory (Where auditory information is coded acoustically)


What happens with attention in the MSM?

If a persons attention is focused on one of the sensory stores, then the data is transferred to short term memory (STM). Attention is the first step in remembering something.


What happens with the STM in the MSM?

~ Information is held in the STM so it can be used for immediate tasks.
~ STM has a limited duration of around 30 seconds therefore information held here is in a "fragile" state and will disappear relatively quickly if it isn't rehearsed.
~ Information will also disappear if new information enters STM, pushing out (displacing) the original information.
~ This happens because STM has limited capacity (about 7 items).
~ Information in STM is coded acoustically.


What is maintenance rehearsal in the MSM?

If information continues to be rehearsed, it will enter the long term memory (LTM). There is a distinct relationship between rehearsal in STM and the strength of the LTM - the more information is rehearsed, the better it is remembered.


What is retrieval in the MSM?

The process that allows us to recall information from the LTM as it temporarily transfers the information back to the STM


Evaluate (strengths) of the multi store model

✅ Research supports the distinction between STM and LTM. Including studies using brain scanning techniques which demonstrate that there's a difference between STM and LTM.
✅ Psychologists have also shows that different areas of the brain are involved in STM and LTM from their stud of individuals with brain damage (e.g. case study HM)


What is the case study of HM?

His brain damage was caused by an operation to remove his hippocampus to reduce his epilepsy. After the surgery his STM was intact however he could not form new LTM's.


Evaluate (weaknesses) of the multi store model

❌ The MSM suggests that the STM is a single "unitary" store. However other research suggests that STM is more complex.
❌ There is evidence against the idea of a unitary LTM store. Tulving suggests we have 3 separate LTM stores for episodic, semantic and procedure memories. Therefore the MSM's idea of a unitary STM and LTM may be too simplistic.
❌ MSM suggests that what matters in rehearsal is how much you do. However research disputes this idea and suggest that it's actually the type of rehearsal that is important (maintenance; maintains information in STM, or elaborative; involves linking new to existing information in LTM). Goes against the ideas proposed by the MSM.


Who proposed the Working Memory Model (WMM)?

Baddeley and Hitch (1974)


What is the WMM?

It was proposed to explain the organisation and function of STM


Explain the term "working memory"

The part of memory that you use when working on a complex task which requires you to store information as you go along


What is the central executive?

Key component of the working memory. Directs attention to particular tasks and allocates slave systems to tasks.


What is the capacity of the central executive?

Very limited


What are the 3 slave systems?

~ Phonological loop
~ Visuo-spatial sketchpad
~ Episodic buffer


What is the phonological loop?

Deals with auditory information and preserves the order of information. Baddeley further divided this into the phonological store and articulatory processes.


What is the phonological store?

In the phonological loop, holds the words you hear, like an inner ear.


What are articulatory processes?

In the phonological loop, allows for maintenance rehearsal, like an inner voice.


What is the capacity of the phonological loop?

Limited to around 2 seconds worth of what you can say.


What is the Visuo-spatial sketchpad?

Temporarily stores visual and/or spatial information. Logie (1995) suggests the VSSP can be divided into a visual cache and inner scribe.


What is a visual cache?

Stores visual data


What is an inner scribe

Spatial relations


What is the capacity of the Visuo-spatial sketchpad?

About 3 or 4 objects


What is the episodic buffer?

Added by Baddeley (2000) because he realised the model needed a general store. It integrates information from the central executive, phonological loop, VSSP and also provides a link to LTM.


What is the capacity of the episodic buffer?

About 4 chunks


Evaluate (strengths) the Working Memory Model

✅ Studies of duel tasks support the existence of deprecate working memory stores. Baddeley showed that p's had more difficulty doing 2 visual tasks at once than they did doing one visual task and one verbal task. This supports the WMM idea of separate working memory stores.
✅ The WMM has also been supported by cases of brain damage (KF). This supports the existence of deprecate stores for visual and auditory processing.


What is the case study of KF?

KF had problems processing auditory information but could process visual information normally. This suggests his brain damage was restricted to the phonological loop, so supports WMM.


Evaluate (weaknesses) of working memory model

❌ Evidence from case studies has limitations such as case studies are based on unique case studies so are difficult to generalise. Also people with brain damage have difficulties paying attention so findings may not show problems with memory. Some evidence for WMM therefore lacks validity.
❌ There is concern about the central executive as the concept is vague. The central executive needs to be more clearly specified. Therefore the WMM had not been fully explained.


What are the 3 types of LTM?

~ Episodic
~ Semantic
~ Procedural


What is episodic memory?

Personal memories of events (e.g. What you did yesterday). You need to make a conscious effort to recall an episodic memory.


What are the 3 elements of episodic memory?

~ Specific details of the event
~ Context
~ Emotion


What is semantic memory?

Shared memories concerning knowledge of the world. These memories may be concrete or abstract. We have to make a conscious effort to recall these memories.


What is procedural memory?

Memory for how to do things, such as actions or skills. We can recall these memories without conscious awareness.


Evaluate (strengths) types of LTM

✅ Supported by research using brain scanning techniques. Episodic is associated with the hippocampus and associated with activity in the frontal lobe, procedural is associated with the cerebellum, semantic relies on the temporal lobe. Supports that memories are separate.
✅ The case study of HM supports different types of LTM. He could not form new episodic or semantic memories but could form new procedurals.
✅ Being able to identify different types of LTM allows psychologists to target certain types of memories in order to improve people's lives. Enables specific treatments to be developed.


Evaluate (weaknesses) of types of LTM

❌ Difficulties with using case studies as evidence. Often unique cases are difficult to generalise. It can be difficult to be certain of the exact parts of the brain have been effected until the patient has died. Therefore case studies evidence lacks validity.
❌ Cohen and Squire (1980) disagree with Tulvings distinction of LTM into 3 types. They argue episodic and semantic memories are stored together in declarative memory. They suggest declarative memories can be consciously recalled whereas non-declarative memory is (procedural memories) cannot.


What is interference?

Explanation for forgetting where I am one memory to strip the ability to recall another. This is more likely to occur when the two memories have some similarities.


What is proactive interference?

When past learning affects recall of new information.


What is retroactive interference?

When current attempts of learning affects your ability to recall old information.


Who researched retroactive interference?

Muller and Pilzecker (1900)


What was the research study into retroactive interference?

Muller and Pilzecker were the first to identify retroactive interference (RI) effects. They gave p's a list of nonsense syllables to learn for 6 minutes, then after an interval, p's were asked to recall the list. Performance was less good if p's had been given an intervening task between the initial learning and recall. The intervening task caused RI because the task interfered with what they had previously learnt.


Evaluate (strengths) interference

✅ Some research provides evidence of interference effects in more everyday situations. Baddeley and Hitch (1977) asked rugby players to try to remember the names of the teams they played so far in the season, week by week. As most players had missed games, for some the last team they played may have been 2+ weeks ago. Results show accurate recall did not depend on how long ago the matches took place, but on how many teams they played in the meantime. This shows interference plays a bigger role in forgetting than the passage of time and shows evidence for interference in realistic settings.


Evaluate (weaknesses) interference

❌ Most research is lab based, so although there's high levels of control, research lacks ecological validity. Also it can be difficult to generalise findings from these studies to everyday life.
❌ Lab studies for interference often are designed to maximise the possibility of interference. Therefore interference may not occur as frequently in real life as it does in lab studies.
❌ Some people are less affected by proactive interference than others. Therefore there may be individual differences with interference.


What is retrieval failure?

Suggests that forgetting is due to the absence of cues.


What are cues?

Things that serve as a reminder and trigger a memory.


What is the encoding specificity principle?

States that memory is most effective if a cue that was present at encoding is also available at retrieval.


What is context dependent forgetting?

The environment you are in at the time of encoding can act as a cue.


What is state dependent forgetting?

The mental state you are in at the time of encoding can act as a cue.


Evaluate (strengths) retrieval failure

✅ The idea of mental reinstatement has positive applications in terms of crime. Mental reinstatement of original context is a feature of the cognitive interview.


Evaluate (weaknesses) retrieval failure

❌ It is suggested that context effect may be related to the kind of memory being tested. Research shows presence/absence of contextual cues may only affect recall and not recognition.
❌ Cues may be associated with retrieval but they do not cause it, questioning the validity of retrieval failure as an explanation of forgetting.


What is misleading information?

Any incorrect information given to the eyewitness; this can include leading questions and post event discussion.