The KF Case Study supports the Working Memory

Memory Case Study and Challenge Questions
Terms and concepts: flashbulb memories, information processing model,
STM, LTM, automatic processing, effortful processing, rehearsal, spacing
effect, serial position effect, mnemonics, chunking, iconic memory, echoic
memory, long-term potentiation (LTP), amnesia, implicit memory, explicit
memory, semantic memory, recall, recognition, priming, mood-congruent
memory, context effects on memory, déjà vu, visualization.
Identify concepts that are described in the case study examples. Write the
concept in the margin next to the sentence where it is described. Then
briefly explain how each term/concept is exemplified in the case. There
may be an example of more than one concept in each case study.
Case A
Henry Molaison suffered from intractable epilepsy. He suffered from partial
seizures for many years, and then several full seizures following his sixteenth
birthday. In 1953 he was referred to Dr. William Scoville,
a neurosurgeon at Hartford Hospital, for treatment.
Dr. Scoville localized Molaison's epilepsy to his left and right medial temporal
lobes (MTLs) and suggested surgical removal of the MTLs as a treatment.
Molaison's bilateral medial temporal lobe including the hippocampal formation
and adjacent structures including most of the amygdaloid complex was removed.
His hippocampi appeared entirely nonfunctional because the remaining 2 cm of
hippocampal tissue appeared atrophic and because the entire entorhinal cortex,
which forms the major sensory input to the hippocampus, was destroyed. Some
of his anterolateral temporal cortex was also destroyed.
After the surgery—which was successful in its primary goal of controlling his
epilepsy—he suffered from severe side effects. Based on your knowledge of the
brain function what types of problems was Mr. Molaison likely to have
experienced. Explain the problems and the brain structures involved.
Case B
Alice doesn’t remember anything about her childhood from before age 3. At age
6 she experienced a traumatic event when she was in a car accident with her
family on a vacation trip. She remembers this accident vividly.
Case C
Bob is studying for an English vocabulary test. He has been studying in his
bedroom and notices that when he reviews he recalls more words when he is in
his bedroom than when he reviews in the kitchen. He has also been studying
Spanish vocabulary. When he studies Spanish before English he often has
difficulty remembering the English words.
Case D
Cal rode his bike to school without even thinking how do operate the bicycle. He
remembers raising his hand in class to answer a question, but he doesn’t
remember the question he asked. In order to remember his English vocabulary
words he repeats them to himself over and over again.
Case E
Allison went grocery shopping, but forgot her shopping list. When she returns
home she discovers that she had remembered to buy items from the beginning
and the end of the list.
On another day Allison decides to commit her shopping list to memory. She
associates each of the items she wants to buy with a rhyme that she has
previously learned.
Case F
Babs remembers pi to100 digits to the right of the decimal place. She has done
this impressive feet of memory by grouping the numbers together.
Case G
Sidney remembers the way to get to her friend’s camp by picturing key
landmarks on the drive in her mind.
Case H
Albert has been studying hard for his upcoming test. He has made flash cards to
help him review. First he must read the cards and he plans to read them over
and over again until he remembers what’s on each card. After he has done this
enough times the terms will be kept in his long-term memory. Later, when he is
taking the test he will have to remember what he studied.
Case I
Alfonse remember what he sees for a split second. He also has a vague memory
of what his mother told him just a seconds ago.
1. In a week, you will be expected to participate in a graded discussion of key
historical figures in your World History class. What strategy could you employ
to learn and retain information about these people so that you are ready by
next week? What might you do to make sure you retain this information
beyond next week?
2. Your friend tells you that her brother, Brad, was in a car accident six months
ago, and his neurologist told the family that Brad’s hippocampus was severely
damaged and he would no longer be able to form new memories of event,
images, or names. Your friend has noticed that Brad has learned to do a
new jigsaw puzzle, and that his skill at using an exercise bike in his physical
therapy class is steadily improving. She wonders if this is evidence that the
neurologist’s diagnosis was wrong. What can you tell your friend?
3. Your biology instructor favors fill-in-the-blank tests; your psychology instructor
uses nothing but multiple-choice questions. In which class might it be easier
to do well on the tests? Explain.
4. Discuss the points of agreement among experts regarding the validity of
recovered memories of child abuse.
5. After Shonte’s store is robbed at gunpoint, she is asked to go to the police
department to identify possible suspects. When she sees the lineup of men
who supposedly fir the description she gave after the robbery, she really isn’t
sure which one of them did it. She points to a man on the far left and says, “I
think it might have been him.” The attending officer responds, “He does look
like a criminal, doesn’t he?! That’s great, you got him. Nice work.” Later in
court, Shonte confidently testifies that she’s sure the man she identified in
the lineup is the culprit. However, DNA evidence contradicts Shonte’s
eyewitness testimony. Using what you know about memory construction,
explain how Shonte’s confidence level about identifying the suspect could
have changed so dramatically.
6. What would happen if we had perfect memories? What might life be like if
we remembered all our waking experiences and all our dreams?
7. Your friend Casey tells you she is sure she is ready for the big chemistry
test. She says she doesn’t need to take the self-test at the end of the
chapter, because she has looked through her notes many times, and
everything looks familiar. Why might Casey not be ready for the test?
8. Jacque learned to speak Italian when she was in the first grade and was able
to speak, read, and write Italian fairly well in the fourth grade. She moved to a
new school system that did not have Italian as a choice for World Languages,
so she decided to take Spanish. Sometimes she found herself saying and
writing words in Italian as she completed her Spanish assignments. Often,
she remembered the vocabulary in Italian before she said the word in
Spanish. Sometimes she felt like knowing Italian helped her learn Spanish,
but sometimes she thought it confused her! When Jacque was in her Spanish
classroom, she felt more at ease with the Spanish language. When she went
to an Italian restaurant, she enjoyed being able to read the menu to her
friends if it was written in Italian.
Briefly define each concept and use an example to show how each
concept is related to Jacque's experiences.
 Working memory
 Explicit memory
 Effortful memory
 Context-dependent memory
 Proactive interference
Explain how these brain structures play a role in Jacque's memory
 Hippocampus
 Amygdala
9. George, a senior in high school, was reminiscing with his friends about their
first homecoming dance.
A. Explain how each of the following psychological terms could help
George's recollection of memory of his freshman-year homecoming
Flashbulb memory
Mood-congruent effect
B. Explain how each of the following psychological terms could hinder
George's recollection or memory of his freshman-year homecoming
 Serial position effect
 Retroactive interference
 Misinformation effect