MEMORY
A huge problem
Eye witness testimony
 Witnesses are not always
right, even if they are certain
 Picking the wrong “rapist”
 How could this happen?
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Memory Overview
Receives information from senses
 Puts that information into a usable form
 Organizes it as it is stored away
 Retrieves it when needed
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Three Processes
Encoding – getting the info and
then transforming it into a form
that the brain can retain
 Storage – holding the info
 Retrieval – pulling it out
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Three Models
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Information-processing- way that information is
handled
Levels of processing – how long and how intensely
we work with a memory determines how well we
retain and retrieve it
Parallel distributed processing – we remember
things in many different forms all at once, in
parallel
Information
processing view
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Encoding
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Storage
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Retrieval
Short-term memory
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Temporary storage of information you have just
experienced
Lasts for about 20-30 seconds, unless rehearsed
Holds 7 (plus or minus 2) items, like a crowded
elevator holds passengers
Can be effectively extended by memorizing
information in chunks – meaningful units
Maintenance rehearsal – repeating the same thing
over and over
Long-term memory
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Unlimited capacity
Lasts (usually) as long as you do
Weakened by interference
Also vulnerable to loss of retrieval cues
Usually located in the frontal lobes
Meaningful, distinctive material goes in quickly
Sensory memory
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The first stage of memory
A very brief representation of all stimuli present to
us
This is what we see briefly around us, we need to
put into short or long term to retain it
Selective attention will transfer this information into
short term memory
Echoic memory
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Brief memory that someone said something
This helps us have meaningful conversations
Helps us remember what a person said to be able
to continue the discussion
Retroactive interference
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Retroactive interference – work with new material
makes old material harder to remember
Final exams. Going back to an old phone, previous
car…
The crucial focus
“How does this information apply to
some experience in my own life?”
 Make it your own and it will be yours
forever.
 Also known as elaborative rehearsal
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Long-term memory
storage
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To improve our memory we must improve the way
we store information
Just repeating things, over and over again, will not
help us remember them
We must process (work with) them deeply, by
focusing on meaning
Procedural memories
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Memory of skills, procedures, habits, even
conditioned responses
There are plenty of things that we can easily do,
but have great difficulty describing
Very hard to “forget”
Riding a bike, typing, tying a tie, etc.
Tested patients with Alzheimer's showed no loss of
memory of these skills
Declarative memory
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General facts and personal information
Long term memory
Conscious and known
More memory types
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Semantic – memory of general principles
 Information
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learned through education
Episodic – memory of specific events
 Specific
to you, events of your day..
Encoding specificity
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Associations formed while learning are the most
effective retrieval cues
This classroom
This time of day
Same chair
Same people
Where were you?
President Kennedy’s
assassination
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The Challenger explosion
But research conducted
in the wake 9/11, show that
even these memories decay
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