Things we don't normally pay attention to

Things we don’t normally pay
attention to (from Higbee)
• What color is on top on a stoplight?
• Whose image is on a penny? Is he
wearing a tie?
• What four words besides “In God We
Trust” appear on most U.S. coins?
• When water goes down the drain, does it
swirl clockwise or counterclockwise?
• What letters, if any, are missing on a
telephone dial?
Lincoln, bowtie
“United States of America”
Counterclockwise in Northern hemisphere
Q, Z
Crook & Allison (1992)
• Mnemonic for linking names to faces
(face-name mnemonic)
• Series of steps for linking the name and
the face
• Need the face and the name together to
use the mnemonic (e.g., meet someone at
a party, get introduced to someone at
• 1. Pick an outstanding feature of the face
• Determine what it is about the face that
stands out  that is the feature that you
• Avoid hair, jewelry, glasses, i.e., things that
• Something particularly strange, interesting,
attractive, ugly
More steps
• 2. Get the name
• Get it by asking, someone tells you, the
person tells you, etc.
More steps
• 3. Transform the name to a concrete
• Generate a mental image (visual) that
goes with the name
– E.g., John  image of toilet
– E.g., Mr. Carpenter  toolbox, hammer, etc.
– E.g., Gloria Katz  cat
More steps
• Or, a word that sounds like the name
– E.g., Joan  rhymes with phone  phone
– E.g., Robert  robber  mask
More steps
• 4. Link the image of the name to the
distinctive feature
– Create an interactive image of the feature and
the name image
More steps
• 5. Review
– Mentally rehearse the face/name link
• Need to practice to get faster and better
Variety of mnemonics
• Face-name mnemonics
• Foreign vocabulary mnemonics (in book,
keyword method)
• Memorizing playing cards (for gambling)
• Number mnemonics (list of numbers)
• Mnemonics for particular facts (ROY G.
BIV – red, orange, yellow, green, blue,
indigo, violet – colors of spectrum)
Compare mnemonic to the
principles of remembering
• Crook & Allison (1992) face-name
• Original Principles: attention, organization,
meaningfulness, association, visualization
• Face-name technique uses:
– Attention, Meaningfulness, Association,
Visualization (4 out of 5 of Higbee’s
Interactive imagery and
• Visualization is common to many
– Specifically, using interactive imagery
• E.g., Method of Loci (textbook)
– Relies heavily on interactive imagery
– Memorize places (i.e., loci)
– Form images of items on a list
– Put each image in a separate place
(interactive imagery)
Analog vs. propositional
• Analog = copy or similar to
• Analog representation – similar to or copy
of thing you’re trying to remember (e.g.,
your mental image of your car is really like
a mental picture) (Kosslyn)
• Propositional representation – description
of what an object looks like (memory is
really a description) (Pylyshyn, 1973)
• Take the computer screen
– On the computer screen, you see pictures or
shapes (of letters, icons, etc.)
– But in the computer’s memory the pictures or
shapes are represented in 0’s or 1’s
• Take the laserprinter
– It can print a picture
– But, the computer commands are in the form
of a description
Example study (Reed, 1974)
• Ss given pictures to memorize; told that
they would have to answer questions
about the pictures at a later time
• Ss given “test figure” or test picture; was
test figure part of or component of original
figure? Yes or No
Answer = Yes
However, Ss more likely
To say no
• people are not able to form analog
representations of the original figure;
otherwise, they would be able to get the