Chapter 8: Memory chapter 8

chapter 8
Chapter 8:
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Reconstructing the past
The power of suggestion
In pursuit of memory
Three-box model of memory
How we remember
Why we forget
Autobiographical memories
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The manufacture of
Memory is the capacity to retain and retrieve
Memory is a reconstructive process.
Source misattribution
The inability to distinguish what you originally
experienced from what you heard or were told later
about an event
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The fading flashbulb
Some unusual, shocking, or tragic events hold a
special place in memory.
Called flashbulb memories because of their surprise,
illumination, and photographic detail
Even flashbulb memories have errors.
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Conditions of
Confusion of an event that happened to someone else with one that happened
to you, or. . .
A belief that you remember something when it never actually happened
Confabulation is most likely when. . .
you have thought or heard about the event many times.
the image of the event contains many details.
the event is easy to imagine.
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The eyewitness on trial
Eyewitnesses are not always reliable
Factors influencing accuracy
Cross race identification
Question wording (e.g., “crashed” vs “hit”)
Misleading information
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Children’s testimony
Under what conditions are children more
When they are very young
When interviewers’ expectations are clear
When other children’s memories for events are accessible
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Children’s testimony
When asked if a visitor
committed acts that had not
occurred, few 4–6 year olds said
100% of 3-year olds said yes.
When investigators used
techniques taken from real
child-abuse investigations,
most children said yes.
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Explicit memory
Conscious, intentional recollection of an
event or item of information.
Recall: The ability to retrieve and reproduce from
memory previously learned material
Recognition: The ability to identify previously
encountered material
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Implicit memory
Unconscious retention in memory, as evidenced by
the effect of a previous experience or previously
encountered information on current thoughts or
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Compares the time required to relearn
material with the time used in the initial
learning of the material.
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A person reads or listens to information and is later
tested to see whether the information affects
performance on another type of task.
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Parallel distributed
processing (PDP)
Model of memory in which knowledge is
represented as connections among
thousands of interacting processing units,
distributed in a vast network, and all
operating in parallel
Recall, Recognition, and
• Recall is a measure of memory in which
the person must retrieve information
learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank
• Recognition is a measure in which a
person need only identify items
previously learned, as on a multiplechoice test.
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Three-box model of
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Sensory memory
A memory system that momentarily preserves
extremely accurate images of sensory
Pattern recognition
The identification of a stimulus on the basis of information already
contained in long-term memory
Information that is not quickly passed to shortterm memory is gone forever.
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Short-term memory
A limited capacity memory system involved in
the retention of information for brief periods
Also used to hold information retrieved from
long-term memory for temporary use
Working memory
A memory system which includes STM and mental processes that
control retrieval of information from LT memory and interpret that
information appropriately for a given task
Meaningful unit of information which may be composed of smaller units
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The value of chunking
You have 5 seconds to
memorize as much as
you can.
Then draw an empty
chess boards and
reproduce the
arrangement of the
Two Types of Sensory
• Information first enters the memory system
through the senses.
• Iconic memory is a momentary sensory
memory of visual stimuli, a photographic
or picture-image memory lasting less than
a second.
• Echoic memory is a momentary sensory
memory of auditory stimuli. Even if attention
is elsewhere, sounds and words can still be
recalled within three or four seconds.
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Long-term memory
The memory system involved in the
long-term storage of information
One way information is organized is in
semantic categories (e.g., animals).
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Conceptual grid
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Types of long-term
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Your turn
What kind of memory is your memory for
the fact that the earth is round?
Procedural memory
Semantic memory
Episodic memory
Flashbulb memory
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Your turn
What kind of memory is your memory for
the fact that the earth is round?
Procedural memory
Semantic memory
Episodic memory
Flashbulb memory
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Contents of long-term
Procedural memories
Memories for performance of actions or skills
“Knowing how”
Declarative memories
Memories of facts, rules, concepts, and events; includes
semantic and episodic memory
“Knowing that”
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Contents of long-term
Semantic memories
General knowledge, including facts, rules, concepts,
and propositions
Episodic memories
Personally experienced events and the contexts in
which they occurred
Figure 9.13 Memory subsystems
Myers: Psychology, Eighth Edition
Copyright © 2007 by Worth Publishers
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Serial-position effect
The tendency for
recall of first and last
items on a list to
surpass recall of
items in the middle of
the list
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Your turn
You are asked to recall the following list of letters:
Z, S, E, R, F, V, B, H, U, I, K, M, N, G, B, F, O
Which letters are you most likely to remember in longterm memory?
Z, S, E, R
F, V, B, H
U, I, K, M
G, B, F, O
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Your turn
You are asked to recall the following list of letters:
Z, S, E, R, F, V, B, H, U, I, K, M, N, G, B, F, O
Which letters are you most likely to remember in longterm memory?
Z, S, E, R
F, V, B, H
U, I, K, M
G, B, F, O
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Maintenance rehearsal: rote repetition of
material in order to maintain its availability in
Elaborative rehearsal: association of new
information with already stored knowledge
and analysis of the new information to make it
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Deep processing
In the encoding of information, the
processing of meaning rather than simply
the physical or sensory features of a
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Strategies and tricks for improving memory, such
as use of a verse or a formula
Thirty days hath September. . .
Encoding in Remembering
Verbal Information
• This research also highlights the futility
of trying to remember words we do not
understand and the benefits of
rephrasing what we read and hear into
meaningful terms.
• The self-reference effect suggests that
by making information “relevant to me,”
we process it more deeply, and the
information will remain more easily
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Decay theory
The theory that information in memory eventually
disappears if it is not accessed
Applies more to short-term than long-term memory
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Forgetting curve
Herman Ebbinghaus
tested his own
memory for nonsense
Forgetting was rapid at
first and then tapered
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Linton’s forgetting curve
In contrast to
Ebbinghaus, Linton’s
memory for personal
events was retained over
a period of several years
and then decreased
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The theory that new information entering memory can
wipe out old information
In one study, researchers showed subjects slides of a
traffic accident.
The experimental group was misled into thinking there was a stop sign
instead of a yield sign.
Even after being debriefed on the purpose of the study, subjects
insisted that they really saw the stop sign.
The new information which came from the researchers replaced what
the subjects saw.
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Similar items interfere
with one another.
Retroactive interference: forgetting
that occurs when recently learned
material interferes with the ability
to remember similar material
stored previously
Proactive interference: forgetting
that occurs when previously stored
material interferes with the ability
to remember similar, more recently
learned material
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The inability to retrieve information stored in
memory because of insufficient cues for
Physical state can be a memory cue
State-dependent memory: the tendency to remember something
when the rememberer is in the same physical or mental state as
during the original learning
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The tendency to remember experiences
that are consistent with one’s current
mood and overlook or forget
experiences that are not.
A Test for Recall: Can You Write
Down the Names of Santa’s Nine
Now Try Recognizing the Names
(Need Help? Answers Appear in
Appendix B)
A) Rudolph
B) Dancer
C) Cupid
D) Lancer
E) Comet
F) Vixen
G) Blitzen
H) Crasher
I) Donner
J) Prancer
K) Sunder
L) Thunder
M) Dasher
N) Donder
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The partial or complete loss of memory for
important personal information
Psychogenic amnesia: the causes of forgetting are
psychological, such as the need to escape feelings of
embarrassment, guilt, shame, disappointment
Traumatic amnesia: the forgetting of specific traumatic events,
sometimes for many years
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The repression
Repression: in psychoanalytic theory, the selective,
involuntary pushing of threatening or upsetting
information into the unconscious
Individuals are more likely to struggle with forgetting
traumatic events.
It is hard to distinguish repression from other forms of
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When should we question
recovered memories?
If a person claims memories of first year or
two of life
If over time the memories become more and
more implausible
If therapist used suggestive techniques such
as hypnosis, dream analysis, age regression,
guided imagery, or leading questions
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Childhood amnesia
The inability to remember events and experiences that
occurred during the first two or three years of life
Cognitive explanations:
Lack of sense of self
Impoverished encoding
A focus on the routine
Different ways of thinking about the world