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Psychology Unit 3: Area of Study 2- Memory (and Forgetting)

Memory
Mechanism of Memory Formation
E. Richard Kendal (role of neuron) y Richard Kandelinduced simple forms of learning in Aplysiacalifornica (Sea Slugs). y Used direct electrode stimulation using a very thin electrode (or probe) to trigger the gill-withdrawal reflex. y It was therefore assumed that learning and memory are interrelated and involve interdependent neurological changes. y Research indicates that neurons are involved in structural and functional changes (particularly at the synapse) that may enable memory formation and enhance storage and retrieval over time. Structural changes: - structural changes in pre-existing synapses. - changes in the number of synapses.. Functional changes: - increase in the amount of the neurotransmitterproduced and released by the neurons. Role of Temporal and Hippocampus in Memory Temporal Lobe y it is the medial area where the hippocampus is located y stores words used in language y stores factual information and information relating to personally significant events that can be expressed in words Hippocampus Hippocampus- is the brain structure that acts as a switching station where new information is passed from STM to LTM for long lasting storage. y formation or encoding of new declarative explicit memories , i.e. semantic and episodic (but not in the formation or retrieval of implicit procedural memories) y consolidation y long-term potentiation (LTP) site
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The Consolidation Theoryproposes- that during learning and in the approximately 30 minutes after learning, changes in the brain cells that occur as information is transferred from STM to LTM for relatively permanent storage. y Proposes that structural changes to the neurons in the brain occurs when something new is being learned and immediately following the learning event. y The resulting structural changes in the neurons and their connections are said to form the memory of what has been learned. y If memory formation is disrupted during the consolidation phase, informatio n may not be embedded in LTM and will therefore be lost; if disruption does not occur, the information becomes a permanent part of LTM, at least until retrieved. Memory Decline over the Lifespan Age Related Memory Decline Lack of motivation by elderly participants in experiments and other studies on age-related decline in memory. Lack of confidence in one s memory Type of retrieval method used: information may not actually be lost and is not retrieved due to use of inappropriate retrieval method. For exa mple, relying on recall rather than recognition. Age-related slowing of CNS functioning.

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Amnesia and Neurodegenerative Diseases Amnesia-Partial or complete memory loss due to organic/physiologicalfactors, which can be tempory or permanent. Retrograde Amnesia-When brain damage affects memory/loss of memory for events that happened before the person sustained the damage. Usually temporary Often caused by a blow to the head Brief retrograde amnesia can also be caused by Electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) Long-term retrograde amnesia occurs due to brain tumours, strokes or the later stages of Alzheimer s disease.

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Anterograde Amnesia-When brain damage causes loss of memory only for information or events experienced after the person sustained the damage. y Memory of information prior to the damage remains. y Can talk about before but not what has happened after. y People with anterograde amnesia experience difficulty learning new information Dementia is a general term used for a variety of symptoms of a large group of illnesses or neurodegenerative diseases that cause a progressive decline in mental functioning. Neurodegenerative diseases are irreversible as they involve neurological degradation, including neuronal loss which cannot be recovered (but in some cases may be slowed). Examples of dementia: Alzheimer's disease Korsakoff s syndrome Both Alzheimer s disease and Korsakoff s syndrome are characterised by a progressive decline in the structure, activity and function of brain tissue (especially in the medial temporal lobe are a and in the hippocampus area). Alzheimer s diseaseis a neurodegenerative disease characterised by the gradual widespread degeneration of brain neurons, causing memory loss, a decline in cognitive and social skills and personality changes.

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Comparison of Models for Explaining Human Memory


Atkinson Shiffrin multi-store modelrepresents memory as consisting of threedistinguishable components (i.e. stores) called the sensoryregister, the short-term store ( working memory ) and the long-termstore, through which information is transferred and with each component representing a pla ce where information is encoded, stored and processed.

Sensory Memory (Register)-Has 2 parts Ichoic and Echoic. Capacity is unlimited and Duration is up to a few seconds. Iconic Memory(Sperling proved its existence). y Stores visual information in its original form for a very brief time y Duration: 0.3 / one third of a second y Capacity: unlimited y The information is in memory just long enough for the images to be connected and seen as belonging together.
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c c Memory Stores i f rm ti t in their original form for a very rief period of time. Dur ti : 3-4 seconds Capacit : unlimited The duration needs to be longer as sounds take longer to pronounce than images take to flash onto the retina.
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tion in a Elaborative Rehearsal-The process of lin in n info nin ful with information already stored in memory or with other new and t i l from long term memory. information to aid in its sto Chunking-Grouping separate bits of i formation into lar er single units or chunks of information. y You can increase the capacity of short-term memory by chun in This involves organizing o th n 9 discrete items into bigger single chun s of information (so that capacity is increased despite actually remaining at the 7 2 limit). Serial position effectis a research finding that free recall of items in a list tends to be best for items at the end, then the beginning and worst for items around the middle.
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Maintenance Rehearsal-The simple r te repetiti remembered to keep it i short-term memor


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of information being

Baddeley and Hitch s Model of Working Memory An active part of memory where information you are consciously aware of is actively worked on, thought about and processed in a variety of ways. It processes information from sensory memory and extracts and manipulates information from LTM. Working memory is the working part of memory in everyday life. Craik and Lockhart s Levels of Processingframework- proposes that the level or depth at which we process information during learning determines how well it is stored in long term memory. The level or depth has been proved hard to measure or quantify.

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Manipulation and Impro ement of Memory


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Forgetting Curve (Hermann Ebbinghaus) He was measuring the amount of information that is retained and the rate it is forgotten. He studied himself by learning nonsense syllables- have no meaning associations. He would learn a list of nonsense syllables and then test himself after a delay. He collated these results and represented them in a forgetting curve to show the rate and speed of forgetting.

The forgetting curve is a graph showing the pattern (rate and amount) of forgetting that occurs over time. Generally, a typical forgetting curve shows that: forgetting is rapid soon after the original learning, then the rate of memory loss gradually declines, followed by stability in the memories that remain. more than half the memory loss occurs within the first hour after learning. virtually all the information that will be forgotten is lost in the first eight hours (about 65%). information that is not quickly forgotten seems to be retained in memory over a long period of time.

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Factors Affecting Amount of Forgetting y meaningfulness of material. y how well information is encoded when it s first learnt.

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Measures of retentionare methods of measuring the amount of information retained in memory. There are 3 ways we can measure what information is in our memory: y Recall least sensitive y Recognition less sensitive than relearning but more sensitive than recall y Relearning- most sensitive Recall- Reproducing information that has been stored in memory with the fewest possible retrieval cues. 3 types of recall: - Free recall - Cued recall - Serial recall Free Recall-When participants are asked to remember as much information as they can in no particular order. Cued Recall-Uses various cues to aid the retrieval of information from memory. Serial Recall-When participants are asked to reproduce information in the order it was given. Recognition-Identifying the correct information among otheralternatives.eg Multiple choice questions Relearning (Savings Method)-Involves participants learning information again that has been previously memorised and stored in LTM. y It is said that if you learn the information in less time or over less trials the second time, that you have saved/kept knowledge from your original learning.

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CuesEncoding specificity principle:a general rule that the more closely the retrieval cues match the original learning conditions, the more likely the memory information will be recalled. Context:the external environment/setting where original learning took place. Context dependent cuesare environmental cues in the specific context/setting where a memory was formed that acts as a retrieval cue to help access the memories formed in that context. The context where a memory is formed can provide retrieval cues, such as sights, sounds and smells that can help access the memories formed in that context. Experiments have found that word lists are recalled better when learned and retrieved in the same context. A state-dependent cueis an internal cue associated with the physiological and/or psychological state at the time the memory was formed, which actsas a retrieval cue to help access a memory. Therefore, if information is learned when you are happy, sad, intoxicated, aroused etc it is more likely to be recalled when you are in the same state. A Leading Question is phrased in such a way as to suggest what answer is desired or to lead to the desired answer OR contains a presupposition. For example, information that is or must be true in order for the question to make sense. A leading question can be used to change an eyewitness memory of a critical incident through post-event exposure to inaccurate/ misleading information that was introduced through one or more leading questions. Elizabeth Loftus For example, a Loftus study shows that a leading question can be used to add or plant new, false information to or in an eyewitnesses memory of a critical event. Therefore, increasing the likelihood of that information being included in their reconstructed memory when prompted to recall that memory by a closely related question asked at a later time during the trial. Memory has a reconstructive nature as new or false information can be added later by a leading question.
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Mnemonic Devices-are techniques for enhancing or improving memory. Mnemonic devices make use of memory already stored in LTM. The devices do not work to simplifyinformation, they actually make it more elaborate (meaningful). But the additional information makes it easier to locate and retrieve the information as it has enhanced organisation in LTM. All the mnemonic devices are effective because they involve: elaboration using information already in LTM association of new information (to be remembered) and old information (already in LTM) enhancingorganisation through cohesion or chunking.

Acronyms are pronounceable words formed from the first letters of a sequence of words.eg ROY BIV Acrosticsinvolve making verbal associations for items to be remembered by constructingphrases or sentences using the first letters of the information to be remembered. Acrostics are also known as the first-letter technique. The peg-word methodconsists of memorising a rhyme or jingle that has mental pegs or markers on which you hang the items to be remembered. The rhyming words will therefore be retrieval cues (the peg words) for information you wish to remember. You must associate the information to be remembered with the rhyme by using visualisation.
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Narrative Chaining-Involves linking otherwise unrelated items to one another (chaining) to form a meaningful sequence or story (narrative). Method of Loci-It uses a well learned sequence of locations (e.g. your house) as a series of retrieval cues for the information to be recalled. You associate each part of the information to be remembered with specific locations. The number of locations in the sequence should correspond with the number of items of information to be remembered. Can increase serial recall up to 2 to 3 times.

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