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What are the seven sins of memory? And who invented them?

Invented by Schachter, D.L (2001).
1. Transience
2. Absent-mindedness
3. Blocking
4. Misattribution
5. Suggestibility
6. Bias
7. Persistence


What is transience?

Forgetting, something that only lasts for a short time. (Ebbinghaus forgetting curve)


What are the two types of memory?

Flashbulb and everyday


What is the Phonological loop?

Created by Baddeley and Hitch, 1974. It is responsible for 'inner speech', is measured using memory span tasks.
Most people remember 7 + or - 2 items.


What is stored in the visuo-spatial sketchpad and phonological loop?

A limited amount of information because information is stored in a temporal and serial fashion. They allow rehearsal for retention of information and are a 'loop of tape' onto which information is recorded.


What evidence is there to support the phonological loop?

1. Phonological similarity effect (Baddeley, 1966)
2. Unattended speech effect (Salame and Baddeley, 1982 and 89)
3. Word length effect - size = important (Ellis and Hennelly, 1980)
4. Martin-Loeches, Schwienberger and Sommer (1997) - failed to find support fro predictions from model as these effects were located in different brain areas.


Who was patient HM?

A patient who was unable to remember information for more than a few seconds (could remember information from the past but couldn't learn anything new).
HM had drastic brain surgery to reduce epilepsy where they realised that he had a non-functioning hippocampus, therefore it must be crucial to memory formation - not where stored but involved in gradual transition from STM to LTM.


How can transience be reduced?

1. Deep processing (Noice et al, 1999) - older adults had better memory when trained in professional acting techniques.
The technique gave 1) greater mental effort and 2) deeper processing.
Animals models suggest/support view that distinct, identifiable regions of the brain, including the hippocampus, are responsible for transience and its reduction.


What is the link between absent-mindedness and age?

People of all ages report absent-mindedness.
Older adults much more absent-minded than younger adults though.
Explained in terms of attention: older adults have less capacity to direct attention to task at hand.
Attention is clearly involved in encoding stage.


What is blocking?

When something is on the tip of the tongue.


How is blocking different from transience?

The information has been encoded and the information is still stored


How is blocking different from absent-mindedness?

Information has been encoded and often able to retrieve partial information.


What is misattribution?

When memories are sometimes attributed to the wrong 'source'. Eg. the Oklahoma city bombing - Timothy McVeigh was John Doe but someone claimed they saw another person too.


What is Deese/Roediger-McDermott's procedure?

That it is very easy to get participants to say with confidence that they have seen items that they haven't actually ever encountered before. Called veridical vs. illusory recognition.


Can false memory be a good thing?

When 228 people were given false memories of a negative experience with an unhealthy food, around 20% believed the memory and avoided the food at test (Bernstein, Laney, Morris and Loftus (2005).


What is suggestibility?

Incorporation of external information into personal recollection.


Who is most susceptible?



Who showed that it is easy to distort memories through suggestion?

Loftus and Palmer (1974).


What is consistency bias?

When the past is rewritten to fit in with present. Eg. Wright and Morley (1995) revealed that people experiencing current pain are better able to generate autobiographical memories of painful events than a control group.


What is persistence?

The inability to prevent recollection of unwanted memories.


Who was Donnie Moore?

A "tragic prisoner of memory" - baseball player who messed up a game for the team and ended up committing suicide.


What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder


What is counterfactual thinking?

"What might have been" scenarios and these are harder is desired event was close to happening.