Memory

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Memory
Sara Buhl
Pages 261-271
Memory

The persistence of learning over time
through the storage and retrieval of
information
Storage & Retrieval

Storage – retaining information

Retrieval – getting info out of storage
Sensory Memory
 Immediate;
Fleeting
 Very brief recording of sensory info
 includes echoic & iconic memory

Echoic (Sensory) Memory
 fleeting
memory for sounds (a few seconds)
 we are able to recall the last few words
spoken by someone even if our attention is
elsewhere
Sensory Memory

Iconic (Sensory) Memory
K
Z
R
Q
B
T
S
G
N
 momentary
photographic memory
 only lasts a few tenths of a second

When shown letters for 1/20 of a second:
 we
can recall half of the letters
 BUT if we are asked to recall a specific line,
we can report all three

needs to occur quickly (half of a second)
Short-Term/Working Memory
activated memory
 holds a few items briefly
 approx. 7 bits of info (+/- 2)
 after info is used it is stored or forgotten
 slightly better for digits than letters

Short-term memory decay
Working (Short-Term) Memory
temporary work site where we associate
new and old information & solve problems
 requires attention
 higher working memory capacity = more
focus
 essential for everyday life

Long-term Memory
relatively permanent
 limitless
 accumulated knowledge
 skills
 experiences

Long-term memory
not like an attic that gets full
 limitless
 amazing memory feats

 memorizing
hundreds of random digits (in 5
minutes), pi to 100,000 places
 http://www.usamemorychampionships.com/
How are memories stored?
most info is not stored with the exact
precision of a video recorder
 Synaptic Changes

 neural
impulses (messages)
 experience changes neuron connections in
the brain

synapses become more efficient at sending signals
Stress Hormones & Memory
stronger emotional experiences = stronger
memories
 traumatic experiences seem to be
“burned” in our memories
 Flashbulb memories

 clear
memory of emotionally significant event
assassination of president JFK (1963)
 Challenger explosion (1986)
 9/11 (2001)

Amnesia
loss of memory
 may be unable to form new memories

 “Jimmie”
(patient of Oliver Sacks)
brain injury 1945
 could not form new memories
 no sense of elapsed time
 1975: still believed he was 19 & that Truman was
president

 50
First Dates movie
Implicit & Explicit Memory


amnesia does not necessarily mean the
individual can no longer learn
Implicit Memory
 learn how to do something
 retention independent of conscious

recollection
Explicit Memory
 memory of facts/experiences
 consciously aware of it
 Read a story faster the 2nd time,
even if they
cannot recall reading it before
 (implicit
memory, but no explicit memory)
Retrieval

Recall
 ability
to retrieve information learned earlier
 e.g., fill-in-the-blank

Recognition
 ability
to identify items previously learned
 e.g., multiple choice test

Relearning
 the
amount of time saved when learning material for a
second time
Retrieval Cues
we associate a target piece of info with the
surroundings, mood, etc.
 mnemonic devices (ROY G. BIV)
 context effects

 words
heard underwater are best recalled
underwater (heard on land better recalled on
land)
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