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Memory - Psychology AS

Overview of the topic Memory in AS Psychology. (Information from revision notes and text books)

Sarah Jane

on 24 March 2014

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Transcript of Memory - Psychology AS

What is memory?
Memory is the cognitive processes involved in registering, storing & retrieving information.
There are two theories on how memory works:
The Multi-Store Memory Model
(Atkinson & Shiffrin 1968)
The Working Memory Model
(Braddeley 1986)
The Multi - Store Memory Model...
As we said before, the MSM model states that there are three types of memory. We are now going to talk about how it works. This model is based on the 'information processing' approach which characterises memory as a flow of information through a system of stages.
It is assumed that there are different stores for different sensory information within the sensory memory:
Echoic Memory -
For auditory information.
Iconic Memory -
For visual memory.
Sensory information that needs to be retained for longer is then transferred to STM. This is a system that stores information for brief periods of time.
There are three aspects of this system:
Capacity -
The amount of information that can be stored in your STM at any one time.
Immediate Digit Span...
The maximum number of digits that you can recall in the correct order is known as your
Immediate Digit Span.
Miller (1956) theorised that most people have a digit span of
Factors affecting the capacity of STM:
There are four factors which can affect the capacity of people's STM:
Influence of the LTM - If you repeat it, you remember it for longer.
Reading Aloud - If you rehearse it out loud, you are able to remember it for longer.
Rhythmic Grouping - Changes of voice/pitch.
Pronunciation of words - accents, language.
Duration of STM....
The length of time that information can be held in the STM.
Peterson & Peterson (1959) conducted an experiment to study the duration of the STM. They did this by asking partcipants to remember three letters, then start counting backwards in 3's from 200, every 3 seconds they were stopped and told to recall the three letters. Participants were able to recall about 80% of the letters & after 18 seconds fewer than 10% were recalled correctly.
Factors affecting
duration of STM...
Maintenance Rehearsal...
This was prevented during the experiment when the participant was asked to count backwards. The participant was unable to repeat the letters after a period of time as they had to think about something else. The new information pushed out the old which is the basis of forgetting. If we do not perform maintenance rehearsal, information cannot be stored in our LTM and it is lost from the STM.
Deliberate Intention to Recall...
Information will remain in your STM longer if you make a conscious effort to remember it.
Information is more likely to be remembered if it's remembered in chunks - The letters C A T are more likely to be remembered as they have meaning. Digits such as phone numbers are better remembered if they are chunked into 3's.*
When information enters into our sensory memory, it does so in its rawest form. Our brains 'encode' the information in order to transfer it to the STM.
Encoding can happen in three ways:
Visual - An image
Acoustic - Sound of the word
Semantic - Meaning of the word
Encoding happens unconsciously - we are not aware of which processes we use...
Testing Encoding...
We have just tested acoustic and semantic encoding by assessing whether or not acoustically similar and dissimilar, or semantically similar and dissimilar are harder to recall.
Baddeley (1966)
Conducted this study to discover the effects of acoustic and semantic encoding in STM.
Findings of this experiment found that acoustically similar (test 1) were much harder to recall in the correct order than words with dissimilar sounds.
Semantic similarity or dissimilarity have little detrimental effect on recall.
Something that can be measured and that has the ability to change (age, weight, scores, times etc.
Independent Variables...
The variable in an experiment that will be changed by the researcher during the experiment.
Dependent Variable...
The variable in the experiment that will remain constant by the researcher during the experiment.
This is done so that a causal relationship can be discovered as to whether the IV has an impact on the DV.
This is known as the 'cause & effect'. The words are the independent variables as they are being changed by the experimenter. The dependent variable are the recall errors.
The preferred method of encoding for STM is acoustic encoding. This is shown by the difficulty in recalling words that sound similar.
However, there are several other studies which suggest that other methods of encoding are preferred in different situations.
Brandimonte et al. (1992) discovered that visual encoding can be just as effective as acoustic encoding in certain situations.
If acoustic encoding is prevented, visual encoding is then the preferred method.
Sensory Memory...
Long Term Memory...
The long term memory can hold vast amounts of information for long periods of time.
Information stored here can range from memories to general knowledge.
LTM is not passive but constantly changing and modifying in light of new information.
LTM differs from STM in terms of size, capacity, duration and encoding.
Capacity of LTM...
It is impossible to know the exact capacity of our LTM as we are constantly learning new information.
LTM is organised into different memory systems to make retrieval of memories easier.
Duration of LTM...
According to most cognitive psychologists, LTM can last for almost a whole lifetime. VLTM or 'Permastore' is memory that is held for very long periods of time.
Bahrick et al. (1975)
Conducted an experiment to test the existence of VLTM by asking graduates to identify yearbook photos.
Participants were collected between 14 and 50 years since graduation. Some were given names to match with photos, others were just offered photos and asked to recall names from memory. (Recognition vs. Recall)
Bahrick concluded that VLTM is better when using recognition rather than recall.
Bahrick also concluded that 47 years seemed to be the limit of duration. However this could also be the result of the decline of memory through age.
Sensory Information:
Stores uncoded sensory information.
Stores acoustically or visually encoded information for several seconds. Info can be lost through DECAY or DISPLACEMENT after 30 seconds.
Stores mainly semantic information for unlimited periods of tim. Information can be lost through DECAY, RETRIEVAL FAILURE or INTERFERENCE.
Recoding Process
Rehearsal Transfer
(*3 is the magic number!)
According to the Multi - Store Memory Model, there are three types of Memory:
Sensory Memory

Short Term Memory

Long Term Memory
These stages are the three types of memory, each linked with a process; 'Recoding Process', 'Rehearsal Transfer' & 'Retrieval.
Ways in which memory can be lost...
There are 5 ways in which memory can be lost, these are;
Retrieval Cue, Interference, Decay, Displacement & Retrieval Failure.
Retrival Cue:
A prompt that helps us to recall information.
The process where memories are obscured by other information.
Memories fade away if attention is not paid to them.
Information within the STM is pushed out to make room for new information.
Information stored cannot be accessed as there is not suitable retrieval cue.
The Working Memory Model...
Baddeley & Hitch 1974
The WWM looks at the idea that the STM consists of multi-component, flexible systems that process and store information for short periods of time. It also shows that people have the ability to multi-task.
Central Executive
Controls attention & controls the subsidiary systems.
Phonological Loop
Controls the verbal rehearsal system the 'inner voice'. Phonological store for acoustically coded info - the 'inner ear'
Episodic Buffers
Temporary storage systems that allows information from the subsidiary systems to be combined with information from the LTM.
Visuo-Spacial Scratch Pad
Storage for spacial and visual information. The 'inner eye'.
Long Term Memory
Control executive:
Involved in problem solving and decision making.
Planning, synthesising information.
Flexible as it can process information from all modes.
Limited in capacity.
The Phonological Loop:
Stores speech based sounds.
Contains 2 different stores - phonological store (inner ear) and the articulatory control system (inner voice).
The Visual - Spacial Scratch Pad:
The inner eye
Responsible for mental images.
Visual and spacial stores act independently and have limited capacity.
Episodic Buffer:
Capable of intergrating information from different sources in to episodes.
Limited Capacity
Allows information already present in the LTM to associate with the working memory model to make sense of new scenarios.
Strengths of the WMM...
Explains how we can store information whilst actively processing it. (Mental Arithmatic)
Evidence supports the existence of the visual-spacial scratch pad. It's hard to carry out 2 visual tasks at the same time than a visual + verbal task. This proves the limit capacity of the VSSP.

Doing two visual tasks can overload the VSSP, for example you can't rub your belly and pat your head at the same time.
Weaknesses of the WMM...
There is not much information/research into the most important component, the central executive. No one knows its exact capacity.
Eyewitness Tesitmony
This is evidence given in court, by a witness of serious accident or crime.
Anxiety - Increases accuracy
Yuille & Cutshall (1986)
Real-life shop robbery.
Most anxious witnesses were most accurate even five months later.
Christianson & Hubinette (1993)
Interview of 110 witnesses of bank robberies.
Those who were directly threatened remembered more about the robbers than those who were bystanders.
Reduces Accuracy
Loftus (1979)
Weapon focus phenomenon.
Participants were less accurate when they saw a man holding a paper knife compared to a man holding a pen.
Gross & Hayne (1996)
Children can correctly identify target from a photo line-up after two days. However, they also select someone from the photo line-up even if the target isn't in the line-up.
Leichtman &Ceci (1995)
Children are especially susceptible to misleading questions.
Ceci & Bruck (1993)
Children provide inaccurate EWT because they have poor schemas.
Misleading Questions
Loftus (1975)
Film of a car accident. Participants were asked a misleading question involving a barn were more likely to remember seeing one when asked about it a week later. Their representation of what they saw was altered by the information in the misleading question.
Loftus (1978)
Photo slides of events leading up to car accident. Participant saw a car stopping at a Stop or Yield sign. Participants were less accurate if they were asked a question that was either inconsistant (misleading) with what they saw. The information from the misleading question replaced the true information from memory.
Bekerian & Bowers (1983)
Replication of Stop/Yield study by Loftus et al. (1978)
The Bekerarian & Bowers study was different in the final recognition phase, where the slides were presented in time order, not random order.
Participants provided with the misleading question didn't perform as poorly.
The original memory information wasn't completely lost as Loftus stated as it was possible to uncover the original memory when provided with the suitable cues, as with presenting slides in the correct order.
The Cognitive Interview
Context Reinstatement
Report Everything
Recall in reverse order
Recall from changed perspective
Recreate environment & feelings
Every detail
View in rewind
Take perspective of other witnesses
Geisleman et al. (1985)
Students watched videos of violent crimes.
Those interviewed using the Cognitive Interview.
Schedule remembered more than those using a standard interview technique.
Holliday (2003)
Children aged 4-5 and 9-10 were shown a video of a child's birthday party.
Children could remember more correct details when Cognitive Interview was used.
Cognitive Interview involves in-depth exploration of often traumatic experiences.
Strategies for memory improvement
Context-dependent retrieval
This type of retrieval involves the relationship between the retrieval of information and the

in which it was learned.
1. Hierachies to link meaning
2. Story method
Visual imagery
Relate mental images of what you know to what you want to understand. Images should be:
Godden & Baddeley (1975)
Divers could recall more words if they were tested in the same location (land or underwater) as they learned the words.
Bower et al. (1969)
Participants could recall more words when they were presented in a conceptual hierachy.
Bower & Clark (1969)
Participants recalled 80% more unrelated words if words were connected in a story.
Wollen et al. (1972)
Images were provided with word pairs.
The more the items in the images interacted, the better the recall. Interaction allows chunking of items.
Full transcript