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what is memory?
process used to acquire (learn), store, or retrieve (remember) information of all sorts.
what is learning?
any change in the potential of people to alter their behavior as a consequence of experience.
metaphors used to describe memory:
- recorder of experience: record player, tape recorder, video camera
- storage locations: house, library
- interconnections: network
- jumbled storage: garbage can, junk drawer
- temporal availability: conveyor belt
- content of addressability: lock and key
- forgetting of details: leaky bucket
- reconstruction: building an entire dinosaur skeleton from fossils
- active processing: computer program
memory as a muscle?
false. it's not about how much you use your memory but how much information you have in it.
Plato's ideas on memory
memory serves as the bridge between the perceptual world and a rational world of idealized abstractions.
Aristotle's ideas on memory:
memories are primarily composed of associations among various stimuli or experiences.
Aristotle's three laws of association:
Darwin's idea of memory:
- memory is developed through teh process of evolution to capture major characteristics of the environment and to perform specific tasks.
- genetic component to memory.
process of retrieval.
- used himself as experimenter and subject.
- study memory as pure as possible. studied memory regardless prior knowledge.
- nonsense syllable. studied memory and retrieval.
- tested himself to see how many nonsense syllables he would remember.
- came up with terms such as: learning curve, forgetting curve, overlearning and savings.
- period of time needed for information to be memorized.
- can be affected by all sorts of things; ie. amount of information learned.
- has a negative acceleration (most of the learning occurs in the first segment).
- most of the learning happen when spread over time (distributed practice) vs. lumped together (massed practice).
- conveys the loss of old information.
- negative acceleration function (most of what is forgotten occurs in the initial period).
- process in which a person continues to study information after perfect recall has been achieved.
- insulates person against forgetting.
- forgetting may be delayed; maybe even indefinitely.
- difference between the amount of effort required on a subsequent and prior learning attempt.
- even information that seemed to be complete forgotten, subsequent attempts to relearn it required less effort.
- important because it demonstrates that knowledge ("lost") is somewhere in the dark corners of our mind.
- influence unconscious behavior.
- studided how prior knowledge influences memory.
- what's stored in memory is often fragmentary and incomplete.
- he had people reading a story and then later try to recall it (time frame--immediately after to several months/years later).
- he found that as memories of the story became more fragmented, the story content was altered to make it more consistent with a stereotypical story.
general world knowledge structures
- primary and secondary memory (short and long-term).
- memory retrieval problems.
- tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon.
- "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts".
- complex mental representations and processes have a quality that is different from the component parts that make them up.
- complex phenomena is important in its own right because it could be qualitatively different, ie. melody and notes.
- reason behind some details of a story are better remembered than others.
- hindsight bias.
- mental representations are isomorphic.
observed behavior of a person depends on both the context in which people find themselves as well as a frame of reference.
isomorphic mental represntations
mental structure and operation are analogous to the structure and function of information in the world.
- sought to give psychology greater credibility.
- conditioning: encoding, storage, and retrieval.
- it was the closest thing to the study of memory without questioning what was going on mentally.
- Classical: Pavlov. Form of memory that allows one to prepare for contingencies that are present in the environment.
- Operant: Thorndike. Allows one to remember the consequences of one's own actions.
- rats running through mazes.
- rat would learn to make specific turns at specific junctures. eac turn the rat makes in the maze would be reinforced or not.
- if this was true, any change in teh maze would mean the rat would have to relearn the route all over again.
- however, it was discover that there wasn't any need for relearning but that the rat would adapt to changes quickly.
- mental map.
mental representation in memory for that spatial location.
interested in larger behaviors as opposed to the more microscopic behaviors.
- stimulus and response components.
- memorization: attachement of responses to stimuli.
- forgetting: loss of response availability.
paired associate learning paradigm
- people memorize pairs of items, often words, letters, or nonsense syllables.
- ex. BIRD-FANCY
- people would be asked to produce the second item when presented with teh first.
- first item: stimulus.
- second item: response.
- looks at the effects of interference of prior learning on new learning.
- simple version.
- people would be presented with a list of paired associates and have them recall the B items in the presence of A cues.
A-B C-D paradigm
- more complex; easy.
- people must learn a second list of items; unrelated to the first.
- ex. BIRD-FANCY(1st list) TABLE-ARROW(2nd list)
A-B A-D paradigm
- when the second list retained the initial cues with the first list.
- ex. BIRD-FANCY(1st list) BIRD-ARROW(2nd list)
A-B A-B' paradigm
- very hard.
- one could have the second list be combination of the A items with synonyms of the B items.
- ex. BIRD-FANCY(1st list) BIRD-DRESSY(2nd list).
A-B A-Br paradigm
- very, very hard.
- where there was a recombination of the A and B items from the first list.
- ex. BIRD-FANCY TABLE-ARROW(1st list)
- BIRD-ARROW TABLE-FANCY(2nd list)
- trained rats to run through a maze and then surgically removed part of their brains.
- if memories of the maze were localized in a part of the brain, then destroying that part would destroy the memory.
- hypotesis: rats will then entered the maze and run it as if it was the first time.
- outcome:no matter what part of the brain was removed the rats were still able to perform better than control rats that were placed in the maze for the first time.
- critical factor: how much tissue had been removed and not from where.
- conclusion: engrfams are distributed throughout the crotex; not localized in one part of the brain.
neural representation of a memory trace.
- two-stage process for memory encoding.
- first stage: neural excitation would reverberate around in cell assemblies. a collection of cells that corresponds to a new pattern or idea would be stimulated, and this stimulation would continue for some time.
- second stage: interconnections among the neurons would physically change, with some connections actually growing stronger.
- takes time to move from stage 1 to stage 2.
- cognitive psychology.
- the mind as more than a black box.
- idea of mental processing; limited system.
- how people organize information has an influence on memory.
- the more highly organized a set of information is, the better the memory.
- how information is actively thought about can affect later memory.
- knowledge that a person has stored in long-term memory influence current memory performance in profound ways.
modal model of memory
- heuristic guide.
- explains how memory works.
- four components: sensory registers, short-term store, long-term store, and control processes.
- collection of memory stores.
- each store corresponds to a different sensory modality.
- allows us to hold information for brief periods of time to determine if its is worthy of further attention.
- ex. sequence of sounds forms a word, 2 frames of a film is a continuous movement.
- retains information for less than a minute if nothing is actively done with it.
- information is kept in the current strem of thought.
- information needs to be kept available for a short period of time.
- knowledge currently in conscious awareness.
- capacity, around 7 items.
- "working memory"
- actively manipulate information in short-term memory.
- include rehearsing information to transferring knowledge to or from long-term memory, or perhaps even reasoning.
- active participant.
wide variety of different types of long-term knowledge and different ways of using that knowledge.
Tulving's Triarchic Theory of Memory
- devides long-term memory into: procedural, semantic and episodic.
- divisions reflect the different tasks required of memory, as well as different levels of control and conscious awareness.
- anoetic: does not require conscious awareness.
- memory of how to do things; ie. ride a bicycle or speak our native language.
declarative vs non-declarative memory
- declarative: easy for a person to articulate and talk about.
- ex. episodic and semantic memory.
- non-declarative: difficult to articulate but that still has profound influences on our life.
- ex. procedural memory, classical conditioning and priming.
- generalized and encyclopedic memories that are not tied to a specific time or place.
- stable knowledge that you share with your community.
- highly interrelated memories that are forgotten rather slowly.
- noetic: requires conscious awareness.
- ex. what a stop sign m eans, what you do in a restaurant.
- refer to specific episodes or events in our lives.
- tied to the time and place in which the information was learned.
- episodic memory for each event are compartmentalized and forgotten very rapidly.
- autonoetic: requires knowledge of the self.
explicit vs implicit memory
- explains how information is retrieved from memory.
- explicit: actively and consciously trying to remember something.
- implicit: refers to when a person is unaware that memory is being used.
- emergent property of the nervous system.
- emerges when the neurons work together.
- specialized cell.
- plays a role in the transmission and retention of information.
- cell body.
- contains all of the general cell processing components. (mitochondria, RNA)
- largely used for receiving signals either from sensory cells or from other neurons.
- responsible for collecting information.
used for transmitting information either to other neurons or to other structures.
chemicals that are used to send signals to other neurons.
- fatty substance that encases axons.
- acts as neural insulator.
nodes of Ranvier
- gaps along the myelin sheath.
- allows the transmission of information within a neuron by allowing the neural signal to jump from one point to the next without having to continuously traverse the entire axon.
- action potential.
- inside the neuron.
- neuron is stimulated enough, it fires.
- resting potential: -70mV.
- stimulation--> depolarization. -50mV.
- action potential: +40mV.
- recovery period.
- all-or-none principle.
- neurotransmitters at synapse.
- outside the neuron.
- synapse: space between two neurons.
- neurotransmitters are forced into the synapse when there's an action potential, absorbed by the subsequent neuron, altering the neuron's electrical potential.
examples of neurotransmitters
- ACh: if effects are enhanced, memory can improve, and it declines when ACh effects are suppresed.
- Glu: excitatory. formation of new synapses. creates new memories.
- GABA: inhibitory. involved in new memory formation.
- Norepinephrine: memory consolidation.
- Dopamine: important for memory. low levels -- Parkinson
excitatory vs inhibitory neurotransmitters
- excitatory: encourage the subsequent neuron to fire.
- inhibitory: encourage the subsequent neuron not to fire.
process that strengthens the connections between neurons by altering the ease with which postsynaptic neurons fire.
weakens connections between neurons. important for learning.
takes a long time.
- subcortical structures.
- various lobes of the cortex.
- hippocampus: storing conscious memories.
- amygdala: emotional aspects of memories.
- basal ganglia: motor functioning. uncounscious memory processes.
- cerebellum: coordination.
- diencephalon: sequence of events. controls neurotransmitters.
- cortex is divided in 2 hemispheres.
- laterality: dominance of one hemisphere over the other.
- each hemisphere is divided into lobes.
- occipital lobe: visual processing.
- parietal lobe: spatial hinkin and sensory processing.
- temporal lobe: auditory processing and retaining knowledge.
- frontal lobe: most developed. control of action, emotion, and thoughts.
series of x-rays, each of them taking a different "slice" of the head, and then exameine the brain structures revealed.
- technique that has gained popularity.
- works with the resonant frequencies of different molecules in the brain.
- when placed in a controlled magnetic field, the responses of those atoms can be detected and measured.
- electrodes are attached to a person's scalp, so electrical activity in the underlying part of the brain can be recorded.
- EEG waves.
ERPs (event-related potentials)
- regular change in the pattern of electrical energy measured from the cortex at a given location as a functionof the particular task or event that the person is thinking about.
- high temporal resolution. low spatial resolution. (you know when but not where something happen in the brain).
ERS (event-related synchronization)
- the nervous system has a tendency to have various oscillators throughout it. that is, groups of cells tend to fire together. this is called synchronization, and when this increases after an event it is called ERS.
- at rest.
ERD (event-related desynchronization)
- when a person is engaged in mental activity.
- ERD is used as an indicator of processing.
TMS (transcranial magnetic simulation)
a magnetic field is used to alter the electrical charges of the neurons in a part of the brain that the TMS device is placed over, thereby exciting them.
magnetic fields are used to measure cortical electrical activity to help pinpoint which aspects of the brain may be active for various memory tasks.
PET (positron emission tomography)
- high spatial resolution.
- low temporal resolution.
- ppl are injected with a radioactive isotope of oxygen.
uses the detection of oxygen atoms as a measure of mental activity.
- by understanding brain structure and function we can build theories that incorporate results from the field of neuroscience.
- theory uses regularities emerging from neuroimagin studies--in this case hemispheric asymmetries--and map them onto what is known about human memory.
- in addition, work in neuroscience can be brought together with other influences on memory, such as emotion and multiple memory traces, to get a better understanding of how memory works.
- identification and integration.
- 3 types: visual (iconic), auditory (echoic), and touch (haptic).
- captures the visual stimulation from our retinas.
- mental representation: scan.
- amount held: 4-5 items. large amount of information is held in iconic memory
- information present decays quickly. (brief duration)
typical eye movement.
when our eyes land on some point in space.
- uses representations of objects, called object files.
- change detection is more likely when the entity is at the focus of attention rather than in the background.
- visual memory reflects our expectations.
- more likely to detect a change in an object if it belongs in the scene than if it does not.
- mental representation: echo.
- can retain a large amount of information.
- retained for a longer period of time (4s).
- account for both spatial extent of what is in contact wieht the body, as well as how it changes over time.
- tactile information.
- rapid decay of information.
- ppl could report 3-4 skin locations.
- responsible for processing and retaining formation beyond the sensory registers.
- incude consciousness.
- memory that is currently available.
- severely limite capacity.
- holds 7 items (Miller).
- bottleneck: without active attention information is forgotten in 30 sec.
unit of information is flexible.
- people take smaller units of information and group them into a larger unit.
- expands the capacity of short-term memory.
- prior knowledge is a major influence.
- more you know, the easier it is to form chunks, and the more efficient your applicationof that knowledge is, the greater your memory capacity will seem.
- memory can be improved by gaining expertise.
forgetting is due to the passage of time
forgetting is due to information in short-term memory interfering with or in some way blocks or hinders the retrieval of other information.
retrieval in short-term memory: Sternberg
- parallel search.
- serial self-terminating search.
- serial exhaustive search.
- all of the items in short-term memory are available more or less at once.
- accessed in parallel.
- information is available at once regardless of the size of the search set.
- response time should not vary with set size.
- no difference between "yes"/"no" responses.
serial self-terminating search
- going through items one at a time.
- once people get to the target item, the search stops.
- increase in response time with an increase in set size.
- larger the set, longer it should take.
- difference in the slope of the response times for "yes"/"no" responses.
serail exhaustive search
- going through items one at a time.
- people would continue until through the entire set.
- increasing response time function with increasing set size.
- no difference between "yes"/"no" responses.
serial position curve
- memory being better for information at the beginning and end of a set compared to information in between.
- primacy effect.
- recency effect.
- suffix effect.
- superior memory for information at the beginning.
- attributed to long-term memory.
- more opportunity to be rehearsed.
- superior memory for information at the end of the set.
- attributed to short-term memory.
- items have not been displaced by subsequent interfering information.
- less likely to be forgotten.
recency effect is diminished when extra infromation is presented at the end of a list.
what influence serial order memory?
- associations formed between items.
- how elements are chunked.
- knowledge of where in a series a given item was encountered.
actively using the infromation that was briefly retained in the short-term memory.
Baddeley's multicomponent model
1- phonological loop.
2- visuo-spatial sketch pad.
3- episodic buffer.
4- central executive.
processing verbal and auditory information.
phological loop components
- phological store: temporary storehouse.
- articulatory loop: active rehearsal. allows for information preservation.
phenomena of the phonological loop
- word length effect.
- articularory suppression.
- irrelevant speech.
- phonological similarity.
- lexicality effect.
word length effect
the longer it takes to say teh words, the fewer that can be readily recalled.
- reduced verbal span when person is speaking while simultaneously trying to remember a set of items.
- talking about one thing makes it difficult to remember something else.
finding that the phonological loop is less efficient when there is irrelevant speech in the background.
finding that more phonologically similar the items in a set are, the more memory errors that are made.
memory spans are larger for lists of words than for nonwords.
- processing visual and spatial knowledge.
- right hemisphere.
- construction, maintenance and manipulationof mental images.
- isomorphically related to perceptual images.
- sensitive to object size and viewer distance.
- must be actively maintained
mental scanning increases proportionately with the distance that needs to be covered.
- mentally turn some object.
- might be done so that a person can make a decision, such as identifying it.
- fill in beyond the edges with what we think should be there.
- specially striking in memory of pictures, television shows or movies.
- alter perceptual experiences based on physical characteristics.
- involve the interpretation of either the real or percieved motion.
bias for people to misremember the location or orientation of an object further along its path of motion than it actually was the last time it was seen.
finding that memory for object tends to be distorted towar the earth, especially when the objects are not supported.
- finding that moving objects slow down more when moving along another object (such as the ground) that can produce friction.
- puts the brakes on representational momentum.
physical property that is exerted can vary depending on what that object is.
- where multimodal iformation from different sources is combined or bound together.
- long-term working memory: allows people to coordinate large amounts of information.
- retrieval cues held in working memory that reference information in long-term memory.
- control center of working memory.
- regulates the flow of information in the current stream of thought.
- decides what and what not to think about.
- does most of the work of working memory.
used to keep irrelevant information out of working memory or to remove information that has become irrelevan or inappropriate.
disruption of the central executive can be seen when there has been damage to the frontal lobes.
simple span vs complex span
- simple span: requires persons to do one simple task.
- complex span: have at least tow components. retention of a set of information for a period of time. active processing component.
complex span tests
- reading span: reading sentences and remembering final words.
- comprehension span: reading sentences, remembering final words and make sensibility judgements.
- operation span: reads a 2-step math problem, indicate if the solution is correct, a word is presented, remember such word.
- spatial span: identify if some letters are normal or mirror reversed (active processing) indicat where teh tops of the letters were in location (retention).
working memory span
- implications: effectiveness of long-term memory retrieval.
- important for effective thinking: keeping the contents of working memory filled with relevant information and keeping irrelevan information out.