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Cognition: Memory and its Parts Thinking and language

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1 Cognition: Memory and its Parts Thinking and language
Chapter 7 AP Psychology

2 Memory Memory: A system that encodes, stores and retrieves information. While we are learning more about memory every day, psychologists still are unsure exactly what parts of the brain are involved and where it is all stored.

3 Memory’s Three Basic Tasks
According to the information-processing model, the human brain takes essentially meaningless information and turns it into meaningful patterns. It does this through three steps: Encoding Storage Retrieval

4 3 Basic parts: encoding Encoding: the modification of information to fit the preferred format for the memory system. In most cases, encoding is automatic and happens without our awareness. Other encoding, however, like these notes, require extra encoding effort called elaboration to make the memory useful.

5 Encoding The more time we spend learning novel information, the more we remember. 20 15 10 5 8 16 24 32 42 53 64 Time in minutes taken to relearn list on day 2 Number of repetitions of list on day 1 Using 16 unrelated 3 letter sequences

6 Encoding-3 types When we are exposed to stimuli and encode information, we do it in three ways: Semantic Encoding encoding of meaning including meaning of words Acoustic Encoding encoding of sound especially sound of words Visual Encoding encoding of picture images

7 Encoding-Levels of Processing
Processing a word by its meaning (semantic encoding) produces better recognition of it lat a later time.

8 3 basic parts: storage Storage: the retention of encoding material over time. In terms of storing material, we have three stages of memory Sensory Memory Working Memory (short-term memory) Long-term Memory

9 Synaptic Changes and storage
One physical change in the brain during memory storage is in the synapses. Memories begin as impulses whizzing through the brain circuits, leaving a semi-permanent trace. The more a memory is utilized, the more potential strength that neuron has, called long-term potentiation. Neural basis for learning and remembering associations This stuff gets super complicated…keep it simple for now

10 Strengthening Ltp Research suggests that the best way to remember things is to study them and then sleep! Once LTP has occurred, even passing an electrical current through the brain will not erase well stored memories. More recent memories will be be wiped out People who have a concussion and cannot remember what happened just before or after the injury have not had a chance to “consolidate” their memories to the long-term

11 3 basic parts: retrieval
Retrieval: The locating and recovering of information from memory. While some memories return to us in a split second, other seemed to be hidden deeper, and still others are never “recovered” correctly.

12 Eidetic imagery Eidetic imagery is a technical term for a photographic memory. Eidetic imagery can recall a memory in minute detail and portray the most interesting and meaningful parts most accurately. These images can last as short as a brief moment, or as long as days. Eidetic imagery tends to be more common in children, and seems to decline as a person’s language abilities increase

13 Attention to important
3 stages of memory We encode information and store it in one of three types of memory, depending on what we need the information for. Our memory works like an assembly line, and before information can make it to our long-term memory, it must first pass through sensory memory and working memory. External events Sensory memory Short-term Long-term Sensory input Attention to important or novel information Encoding Retrieving


15 Sensory memory Sensory memory is the shortest of our memories and generally holds sights, sounds, smells, textures and other sensory information for a fraction of a second. Sensory memory holds a large amount of information, far more than ever reaches consciousness. Sperling’s experiment: letters in rows, tone to indicate which row to recall. Sensory memories lasts just long enough to dissolve into the next one, giving us the impression of a constant flow.

16 Sperling’s Test K Z R Q B T S G N
George Sperling flashed a group of letters (see left) for 1/20 of a second. People could recall only about half of the letters When he signaled to recall a particular row immediately after the letters disappeared with a specific tone, they could do so with near- perfect accuracy. K Z R Q B T S G N

17 Sensory Memory Not all sensory memory consists of images, each sensory receptor has its own sensory register. Also, sensory images have no meaning associated with them, that is the job of the next stage, working memory. Visual Stimulation-iconic memory Auditory Stimulation-echoic memory Tactile Stimulation-tactile sensory memory Olfactory Stimulation-olfactory memory Gustatory Stimulation-gustatory memory Working Memory Long Term Memory

18 Working Memory Working memory is often known as short term memory. It is the place where we sort and encode information before transferring it to long-term memory, or forgetting it. Generally, it holds information for about 20 seconds, far longer than sensory memory. Most research suggest that we can hold seven pieces of information in our working memory, though it varies slightly.

19 Another working memory test
Badley’s Three Systems of Working Memory Central executive: controls our attention and coordinates working memory for a specific task Phonological loop: stores and utilizes semantic (word) information Visuo-spatial sketchpad: stores and utilizes speech based information Let’s test this system!

20 Working memory Working memory is subject to two limitations: limited capacity and short duration. We do have coping mechanisms, however: Chunking Rehearsal

21 Chunking A chunk is any memory pattern or meaningful unit of memory.
By creating these chunks, a process called chunking, we can fit more information into the seven available slots of working memory. Example: vs

22 Rehearsal Another memory technique is called maintenance rehearsal. This is a process where information is repeated to keep it from fading while in working memory. This process does not involve active elaboration- assigning meaning to the information.

23 Levels of Processing In working memory, information can be elaborated on, or connected with long term memories. The Levels-of-processing theory says that information that is more thoroughly connected to meaningful items in long term memory will be remembered better. Levels of Processing Theory

24 Working memory: location
While the location in the brain of all three stages of memory are still not fully understood, the likely location for the working memory is in the frontal cortex.

25 Long term memory As far as anyone knows, there is no limit to the duration or capacity of the long term memory. Long term memory is essentially all of your knowledge of yourself and the world around you. Unless an injury or illness occurs, this memory is limitless.

26 Structure and Function of LTM
Long Term Memory Declarative Memory (Explicitly Memory) (knowing what) Semantic Memory: -General Knowledge -language -Facts -Personal Experiences Episodic Memory -Events Procedural Memory (Implicit Memory) (knowing how) -Classical Conditioning -Operant Conditioning -Motor skills Includes:

27 Long Term memory Procedural memory (implicit) is the part of long term memory where we store memories of how things are done.

28 Long Term memory Declarative memory (explicit) is the part of long term memory where we store specific information such as facts and events. More often than procedural memory, declarative memory requires some conscious mental effort.

29 Declarative Memory Declarative memory has two divisions:
Episodic Memory: This is the portion of memory that stores personal events or “episodes.” This is the storage of things like time and place. Semantic Memory: This portion of memory stores general knowledge, facts and language meaning. This is specifically where all the information you “know” is stored.

30 Studies: implicit vs. explicit
People with amnesia who read a story once, will read it faster a second time, showing implicit memory. There is no explicit memory though as they cannot recall having seen the text before People with Alzheimer's who are repeatedly shown the word perfume will not recall having seen it. If asked the first word that comes to mind in response to the letters per, the say perfume readily displaying learning.

31 Flashbulb memory Of all our forms of memory, a few are exceptionally clear and vivid. We call these flashbulb memories. These tend to be memories of highly emotional events. Typically people remember exactly where they were when the event happened, what they were doing and the emotions they felt. JFK’s Assassination Ex. 9/11

32 Engram The engram is the biological basis for long-term memory. It is also known as the memory trace. Psychologists have been trying to identify exactly where exactly memory is stored. There are currently two theories; one involving the neural circuitry and the other at biological changes in synapses.

33 Parts of the brain used in memory
Two parts of the brain psychologists know for sure are involved in memory are the hippocampus and the amygdala. In a process called consolidation, information in the working memory is gradually changed over to long term memories. The amygdala seems to play a role in strengthening memories that have strong emotional connections.

34 Two types of forgetting
Retrograde Amnesia: The inability to remember information previously stored in memory. Anterograde Amnesia: The inability to form memories from new material. As memories form, neurotransmitters collect at the synapses, (before absolute threshold is crossed). These are called memory traces. A sharp blow to the head, or electric shock can prevent these traces from consolidating, making it hard to recall that information.

35 Types of Amnesia and forgetting
Retrograde amnesia is a form of amnesia where someone will be unable to recall events that occurred before the development of amnesia. Anterograde amnesia is a loss of the ability to create memories after the event that caused the amnesia occurs

36 Types of memory When dealing with long term memory retrieval, there are two types of memory: Implicit memory: a memory that was not deliberately learned-no conscious awareness Ex. Muscle memory—throwing a ball Explicit memory: a memory that had been processed with attention and can be consciously recalled. Ex. The three stages of memory General rule: a memory is implicit if it can affect behavior or mental processes without becoming fully conscious. Explicit memories always involve consciousness.

37 Retrieval clues Retrieval clues are the search terms we use to activate memory—think of a Google search. The more specific you are, the better the results will be. Some memories are easily remembered, while others are much harder to bring up. For example, if you draw a blank on a test, it may be a result of the wording on the test not being the same as the wording you used while studying.

Memories can be cued in two ways: Recall: a retrieval method in which one must reproduce previously presented material. Ex. Essay test; police sketch of a suspect Recognition: a retrieval method in which one must identify information that is provided, which has previously been presented. Ex. Multiple choice test; police line-up

39 Other factors affecting retrieval
Encoding specificity principal: the more closely the retrieval clues match way the information was encoded, the better the information will be remembered. Think Google search Mood-congruent memory: a theory which says we tend to selectively remember memories that match (are congruent with) our current mood. Has an affect on how people are treated for medical conditions

40 Memory Construction We often construct our memories as we encode them, and we may also alter our memories as we withdraw them We infer our past from stored information and what we assume By filtering information and filling in missing pieces, our schemas (understanding of specific settings) direct our memory construction

41 Misinformation As memory fades with time following an event, the injection of misinformation becomes easier. Misinformation effect: incorporating misleading information into one’s memory of an event. Imagination inflation occurs because visualizing something and actually perceiving it activate similar brain areas.

42 Misinformation effect
Depiction of actual accident Leading question: “About how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?” Memory construction Eyewitnesses reconstruct memories when questioned

43 Repressed Memories During the 1990s, the idea of repressing painful memories became a big topic. While some psychoanalysts still support the idea of repressed memories, most psychologists agree that events that are traumatic are typically etched on the mind as vivid, persistent, haunting memories.

44 forgetting As you know, not all the information you learn will stick in your brain. According to Daniel Schacter, this is the result of one of the “seven sins of memory:” Transience Absent-mindedness Blocking Misattribution Suggestibility Bias Persistence

45 1) transience Transience: the impermanence of long-term memories-based on the idea that memories gradually fade in strength over time-also known as “decay theory.” Ebbinghaus’s Forgetting Curve For most memories, there is a sharp decline in memory, followed by declining rate of loss

46 2) Absent-mindedness Absent-mindedness: forgetting caused by lapses in attention. Ex. Forgetting where you parked; losing your keys

47 3) blocking Blocking: forgetting when a memory cannot be retrieved because of interference. Proactive Interference: When an old memory disrupts the learning and remembering of a new memory. Ex. Trying to put the dishes away at a new house Retroactive Memory: When a new memory blocks the retrieval of an old memory. Ex. Driving an automatic after driving a manual

48 Serial Position effect
The serial position effect is a form of interference related to the sequence in which material is presented. Generally items in the middle are remembered less. Primacy: relative ease of remembering the first information in a series. Recency: Strong memories of the most recent information in a series Info in the middle is exposed to both retroactively and proactively.

49 Encoding: Serial Position Effect
12 Percentage of words recalled 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 Position of word in list 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 Serial Position Effect--tendency to recall best the last items in a list Immediate recall Later recall

50 4) misattribution Misattribution: Memory faults that occur when memories are retrieved, but are associated with the wrong time, place or person. Ex. Psychologist Donald Thompson accused of rape. Alibi was airtight as he was giving a TV interview the victim had been watching just prior to the assault.

51 5) suggestibility Suggestibility: The process of memory distortion as the result of deliberate or inadvertent suggestion. Eyewitness accounts are one a large part of our legal system. Unfortunately they can be incredibly faulty. With the misinformation effect, memories can be embellished or even created by cues and suggestions.

52 6) bias Bias: The influence of personal beliefs, attitudes and experiences on memory. Expectancy Bias: A memory tendency to distort recalled events to fit one’s expectations. Self-consistency Bias: A commonly held idea that we are more consistent in our attitudes and beliefs, over time, than we actually are.

53 7) persistence Persistence: A memory problem where unwanted memories cannot be put out of our mind. Depressed people cannot stop thinking about how bad their life is and how unhappy they are. It can create a self-fulfilling problem. Psychologists think that emotions strengthen the physical changes in the synapses that hold our memories, thus highly emotional memories can be harder to put out of mind.

54 Forgetting isn’t all bad
According to Schacter, the “seven sins” are actually a normal part of human memory, and are the results of adaptive features in our memories. According to Schacter, each of the “sins” is for a reason: Transience-to prevent memory overload Blocking-to focus on task at hand Absent-mindedness-ability to shift attention Misattribution/bias/suggestibility-to focus on meaning and not detail Persistence-to remember especially emotional memories

55 Cognition: language and thinking
Chapter 7 AP Psychology

56 Language Acquisition One of the defining characteristics of humans is the use of complex language-our ability to communicate. Newborn children know zero words in English, or any other language. Yet they have innate abilities to become fluent speakers of any language they hear spoken, or signed regularly.

57 Innateness-Theory of Language
According to the innateness-theory of language, children acquire language not only by imitating but also by following preprogrammed steps to acquire language. Noam Chomsky-Language Acquisition Device-LAD: a mental structure that facilitates the learning of language because it is preprogrammed with fundamental language rules. Globally, all children follow the same pattern of language acquisition. LAD is flexible-any language is possible

58 Language Language is our spoken, written, or gestured works and the way we combine them to communicate meaning. Phoneme is the smallest distinctive sound unit Morpheme is the smallest unit that carries meaning may be a word or a part of a word (such as a prefix) -ed/-d = past tense; -s = plural Grammar, then, is a system of rules in a language that enables us to communicate with and understand other

59 Language Semantics is the set of rules by which we derive meaning from morphemes, words, and sentences in a given language. also, the study of meaning Syntax is the rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language. Do you want to go to the store? vs. Store to go want to do you?

60 Stages of Early language
Summary of Language Development Month (approximate) Stage 4 10 12 24 24+ Babbles many speech sounds. Babbling reveals households language. One-word stage. Two-world, telegraphic speech. Language develops rapidly into complete sentences.

61 Language Stages There are four phases of early speech acquisition that all students pass through: Babbling Stage Beginning at 3 to 4 months The stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household language, but noises that represent every sound heard in every language One-Word Stage From about age 1 to 2 The stage in speech development during which a child speaks mostly in single words

62 Language Two-Word Stage Telegraphic Speech Beginning about age 2
The stage in speech development during which a child speaks in mostly two-word statements Telegraphic Speech Early speech stage in which the child speaks like a telegram- –“go car”--using mostly nouns and verbs and omitting “auxiliary” words

63 Language New language learning gets harder with age 100 90 80 70 60 50
Native 3-7 8-10 11-15 17-39 Percentage correct on grammar test Age at school New language learning gets harder with age

64 COGNITIONG/THINKING A concept is a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people Prototype is a mental image or best example of a category-formed on the basis of frequently experienced features. Testing concepts can be hard since they are not observable. We must infer their influence on people’s thinking indirectly by studying their observable side effects. Concept of the color red

65 Types of Concepts There are two types of concepts
Natural concepts: imprecise mental classifications that develop out of our everyday experiences. Most of the concepts in our everyday life Artificial concepts: concepts defined by a set of rules or characteristics, such as dictionary definition or mathematical equations. Most of the concepts learned in school

66 Cognitive Maps As we saw before, cognitive maps are mental representations of a given place or situation. Just the mental image is not enough however. Along with the visual cortex, the frontal lobe of the brain provides us with information on the episode, the context and stimulus of a situation. Ex. Answering the phone at a friends house

67 Making Inferences To help us figure out the episode, the context and stimulus of a situation we do have tools: Schema: General frameworks that provide expectations about topics, events, objects, people and situations. Assimilation vs. Accommodation Script: Schemas about sequences of events and actions expected to occur in particular settings.

68 Problem Solving When we are faced with a problem, we have a few options for figuring out a solution. Algorithms: Problem solving procedures or formulas that guarantee a correct outcome if correctly applied Heuristics: Simple, basic rules that serve as shortcuts to solve complex mental tasks. They do not guarantee a correct solution

69 Algorithms vs. Heuristics
Unscramble S P L O Y O C H Y G Algorithm all 907,208 combinations Heuristic throw out all YY combinations other heuristics?

70 The Matchstick Problem
How would you arrange six matches to form four equilateral triangles?

71 The Three-Jugs Problem
Using jugs A, B, and C, with the capacities shown, how would you measure out the volumes indicated?

72 The Candle-Mounting Problem
Using these materials, how would you mount the candle on a bulletin board?

73 Problems with Heuristics
One problem with heuristic are mental sets. When faced with problems, we have a tendency to approach it in a familiar way. Especially a way that has been successful in the past but may or may not be helpful in solving a new problem Mental set: the tendency to respond to a new problem in the manner used for previous problems.

74 Problems With Heuristics
Another problem with relying on heuristics is called functional fixedness, a sort of mental set issue. Functional Fixedness: The inability to perceive a new use for an object associated with a different purpose.

75 The Matchstick Problem
Solution to the matchstick problem

76 The Three-Jugs Problem
Solution: a) All seven problems can be solved by the equation shown in (a): B - A - 2C = desired volume. b) But simpler solutions exist for problems 6 and 7, such as A - C for problem 6.

77 The Candle-Mounting Problem
Solving this problem requires recognizing that a box need not always serve as a container

78 Judging and Decision making
Along with mental sets, bias can make heuristics a faulty decision making tool. Confirmation bias Hindsight bias: Tendency to second guess a decision after the event has happened. Representative bias: Judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to match particular prototype Availability bias: Estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory if instances come readily to mind we presume such events are common

79 Why Do We Forget? Decay Theory Interference Theory
Motivated Forgetting Theory Encoding Failure Theory Retrieval Failure Theory

80 Human Memory

81 Decay Theory Based on the assumption that memory, like all biological proceses, degrades with time. Skills and memory are degraded if they are not used for a long period of time. “Use it or lost it” principle in effect.


83 Interference Theory Forgetting is caused by one memory competing with, or trying to replace, another memory. Interference is very strong among memories for similar events or with similear retriveal cues. Research has shown that a great deal of everyday forgetting comes from simple everyday activites and a consolidation failure. Example—learning your new phone number often causes forgetting of your old phone number.

84 Motivated Forgetting Theory
An unconscious wish to forget something unpleasant. We tend to forget for a reason. Examples—forgetting the name of a teacher who have you a low grade, your doctor appointment, the embarrasing speech you made in 9th grade English class.


86 Encoding Failure Theory

87 Retriveal Failure Theory

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