PSYC 1100 Section 3.2 Memory Learning and Cognition

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  1. Three-Stage Memory Model
    • Sensory Memory- transient maintenance of sensory impact of stimulus; different for each sensory modality (vision = iconic memory; hearing = echoic memory); slightly longer than the stimuli
    • Short Term Memory (STM) - memory for information that lasts only seconds/ minutes
    • Long Term Memory (LTM) - memory for information that lasts for hours/days/months/years/decades
    • - capacity of LTM is unknown

    • Transfer if information from STM to LTM
    • STM ------consolidation-----> LTM
    • 1. importance, salience, meaning
    • 2. repetition I(rehearsal)
  2. STM vs. LTM
    • STM
    • - limited capacity (7+- 2 items)
    • - temporary record (seconds to minutes)
    • -labile (easily disrupted)

    • LTM
    • - enormous capacity
    • - lasts for days, months,  years and decades
    • - difficult to disrupt

    STM and LTM storage mechanisms are different
  3. Factors important at the acquisition phase
    • Salience (impact of the stimuli) of the item to be remembered; more salient items more easily remembered, attention plays a role
    • Meaning of the item; more meaningful items are remembered more easily
    • - QZW vs. BMW
    • Organization of items; organization into categories at acquisition facilitates memory.
    • - chunking (e.g. 06269-1020 (Psych building) or 1-800-325-3535)
    • - serial position (primacy and recency)

    Memory storage: maintenance of information over time
  4. STM vs. LTM: Storage Mechanisms are Different
    • How is STM measured?
    • STM
    • - limited capacity (7 + 2 items)
    • - temporary record (seconds to minutes)
    • - in lab, measured by “Brown-Peterson” or “Peterson & Peterson” procedure; memory for nonsense syllables decays over time if repetition is inhibited (counting backwards from 100 by 3)
  5. Memory storage:
    • Maintenance of information over time
    • STM
    • - storage process is labile (easily disrupted by distraction or seizures)
    • - it is dependent upon on-going neurochemical and physiological information; you have a visual and auditory aspect

    • LTM
    • - long lasting storage, can be relatively permanent
    • - depends upon SYNAPTIC PLASTICITY, i.e., formation of new synapses (new synapses are formed when something is learned in LTM)
    • - depends upon protein synthesis
  6. Long term memory storage
    • - typically these memories are multimodal (i.e., involve information from several senses)
    • - are stored in DISTRIBUTED locations; i.e., the information is stored in several locations throughout the brain; many involve connections between different association areas across the neocortex (these cells die in Alzheimer’s patients)
  7. Retrieval
    • Recognition: items are presented at the time of retrieval, person identifies which are correct/incorrect, or which have been seen before
    • - Ex: multiple choice tests
    • Recall
    • - cued recall: A stimulus is presented at the time of retrieval, which typically facilitates recall
    • - free recall: no presentation of correct or incorrect items; person must generate item to be remembered
    • -- Ex: essay tests

    Which is easier? Depends upon the items

    • Do they use different retrieval mechanisms, or are they fundamentally the same?
    • Generation-Recognition Hypothesis: emphasizes relation between recall and recognition
    • 1. generate possible items
    • 2. recognize whether correct or incorrect
  8. Blocking
    • Blocking occurs when a cue only serves to inhibit retrieval
    • e.g. experiment with familiar and unfamiliar presidents
    • - Cues usually facilitate retrieval but can also block retrieval

    • Relation between acquisition (encoding) and retrieval
    • - Encoding specificity: information can be encoded so specifically that some cues present at encoding  can readily lead to retrieval.
    • - Context dependency: environmental context can act as a cue
    • -- Memory is the best when tested in the same context
    • -  State dependency: physiological state can act as a cue
    • -- memory is the best when retention is tested with subject in the same physiological state
    • -- drug vs. non-drug conditions
    • -- scuba diving vs. above water
  9. Forgetting
    • 1. decay of memory trace
    • 2. interference

    • Interference
    • Retroactive interference: important process that underlies forgetting
    • - interference with the retrieval of old memories caused by learning new information
    • Proactive interference: inhibits learning of information
    • - interference with the learning of new information caused by previously learned information
  10. Persistence and Accuracy of Long Term Memory
    Ebbinghaus: classic studies of memory for nonsense syllables; 60% of what is learned is gone within a day; with less interference, forgetting is slower.

    How long will more meaningful information last? People can retain well learned information (e.g., 40% or so) for several years

    Studies of long-term forgetting show SAVINGS.  Even if you forget information, you show rapid re-learning.
  11. How to organize different aspects of memory
    • STM vs. LTM
    • Also...
    • Types of memory processes, based upon the content of the information
    • Explicit memory - conscious recollection of previous events or information
    • - “declarative memory”; knowing THAT an event occurred (episodic), possessing knowledge of factual information (semantic)
    • Implicit memory- memory that does not depend upon conscious recollection
    • - classical conditioning
    • - “procedural memory”; knowing HOW to perform a procedure
  12. Amnesia
    memory impairment that results from disease or trauma

    • Retrograde Amnesia
    • • loss of memory forevents that occurred before the brain damage
    • <<-----------{time of damage}----------->>
    •                               Anterograde Amnesia
    •                               • difficulty in learningnew information afterbrain damage
    Can result from seizures, various types of head traumas (concussions).
    • Can result from several types of brain damage.
    • Most commonly, results from damage to hippocampus. Hippocampus is critical for the formation of new explicit (i.e., declarative) memories.
    • - stroke, hypoxia
    • - H.M. got it from surgery (friendly to everyone he met due to loss of memory)
    • Brain Damage and Cognitive Impairment Associated with
    • - excessive and chronic alcoholism
    • - thiamine deficiency

    • Parts of Brain that receive input from hippocampus (i.e., mammillary bodies) are damaged.
    • Memory Impairment: mostly an anterograde amnesia for explicit (i.e., declarative) memory. Procedural memory, classical conditionings are largely intact.
    • - Shaking a person’s hand with a tack, the next day the person refused to shake the hand but doesn’t remember why (classical conditioning intact)
    • (Alzheimer-type dementia)
    • Cognitive impairment resulting from gradual degeneration of neurons.
    • Early onset (rare): before person is 69 or 79.Late onset: after person is 69 or 79.
    • Late onset is MUCH MORE COMMON!! ; 25% of people over 90
    • - Increased recently because people are living longer and much more likely to be in late onset for Alzheimer’s

    • Brain Damage (i.e., neuropathology)
    • - plaques and tangles
    • - cortical cell loss (esp. long cells that connect cortical areas; fragments of memory can still be intact but cannot be put together)
    • - hippocampal damage
    • - loss of neurotransmitters, esp. ACh

    • Cognitive (i.e., learning/memory) Impairments in Alzheimer’s Disease
    • - initially, STM is more affected
    • - initially, anterograde amnesia, “declarative” memory impaired
    • - cognitive function declines over time
    • - eventually, person can have severe LTM deficit, can lose ability to speak

    • Drug Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease
    • • generally only marginally effective
    • • tacrine (Cognex) inhibits enzymatic breakdown of ACh, increases ACh levels in the synapse
    • • DA antagonists are used to treat hallucinations
    • • Future treatments need to reverse the degeneration of the neurons
  17. Attention
    • Many stimuli impinge upon us at any one time. Sensory memory can process a large amount of information, but only 7+- 2 items are held in STM
    • Why? Attentional processes:
    • - the processes that determine what information moves from sensory memory to STM
    • - sensory memory is referred to as a “pre-attentive” process; selective attention processes filter or amplify some information held in sensory memory, allowing only a small amount to be retained in STM
  18. Models of Attention
    • Filter Models: attentional processes block out most of the environment, allowing only a small number of items to processes
    • Amplification Models: a little attention is paid to everything, but a small number of items undergo "amplification" i.e. more attention is paid to them
    • Probably both filtration and amplification occurs in attention
  19. Drug Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)
    • Symptoms: short attention span, easily distracted, poor impulse control, aggressiveness, increased motor activity.
    • Used to be called "hyperactivity" or "hyper kinetic disorder of childhood"
    • Now referred to as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    • Affects 2-10% of population, more males than females
    • Affects adults as well as children

    • Most common treatments: Stimulants that increase synaptic levels of DA and NE
    • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
    • amphetamines (Dexedrine or Adderall)
    • More than 100 controlled studies show that stimulants have effects in terms of either improved behavioral profile or improved attentional performance.
    • Some studies show improved performance in the classroom as measured by academic markers.
    • Several studies suggest stimulants can be effectively combined with behavior modification
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PSYC 1100 Section 3.2 Memory Learning and Cognition
Sec 3.2
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