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Traditional v Distributed Cognition in Memory Research Heather Brown & Joanne Bower.

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Presentation on theme: "Traditional v Distributed Cognition in Memory Research Heather Brown & Joanne Bower."— Presentation transcript:

1 Traditional v Distributed Cognition in Memory Research Heather Brown & Joanne Bower

2 Contents Traditional approaches to memory research Their problems – exemplar study An Alternative - Distributed Cognition Methodology utilised in traditional and distributed cognition approaches Technologies used in these approaches Research of the future Conclusions

3 Traditional Memory Research Environmental Input Sensory Registers Visual, Auditory and Haptic Short-Term Memory Store Temporary working Memory Response output Long-Term Memory Store Atkinson and Shiffrins modal model (1968) Memory as an information processing system

4 The Modal Model: Short term memory store Problems Neuropsychological Evidence: Shallice and Warrington (1970) Grossly impaired auditory memory span does not effect Long term learning capacity Solution Baddeley and Hitch (1974) The Working Memory Model An attentional controlling system coordinates a number of subsystems Central Executive Phonological Loop Visuo-Spatial Sketch Pad The Working Memory Model

5 The Modal Model: Long-Term Learning Problem Laboratory studies suggest that transference into the long term memory store is not a direct function of time in Short term memory store Tulving (1966) Solution Craig and Lockhart (1972) Levels of Processing Shallow processing Deep processing Rehearsal Maintenance Elaborative

6 Traditional Memory Research Evidence from laboratory studies involves testing participants on simplistic and unrealistic tasks. Neuropsychological evidence shows extreme cases often with hard to localise problems. Research has typically focused towards the individual using evidence removed from context.

7 The Misinformation Effect Memory can be affected by social and contextual factors that occur after the event. These factors can provide correct or incorrect information, which then becomes incorporated into memory for the actual event. This conflicts with traditional memory research which ignores the effect of such variables.

8 Neural activity during encoding predicts false memories created by misinformation (Okado & Stark, 2005): Used fMRI scanning to try to locate which areas of the brain were active during encoding and retrieval of event information and misinformation. Concluded that whether the event or misinformation was recalled depended on the level of activity during encoding. Greater activity during encoding lead to higher chance of recall.

9 Technology and Methodology used in Okado & Stark (2005) Attempt to investigate social variables using fMRI data. fMRI is an example of technological advancement, however it reinforces the traditional individualistic approach to memory research. The advances in technology outside of the laboratory have increased the opportunity for all forms of distributed cognition. Therefore, fMRI scanning can only inform us regarding part of the constructive memory process.

10 Okado & Stark (contd) They Assume: Although the events leading to encoding occurred in a social framework, encoding and retrieval occur within individual cognition. Memory is a constructive processes. The loss of social context that occurs within the fMRI scanner does not change the underlying cognitive processes of encoding and recall. However… Cognition is not limited to the individual, but can be distributed across an environment. They discuss this process within an individual framework. The processes engaged in the fMRI scanner may differ from those experienced In the Wild (Hutchins, 1995). Hutchins (2000); Rogers & Scaife (1997)

11 Bridging the Gap: The assumptions made by Okado & Stark (2005) are typical of those made throughout traditional memory research. However, frameworks for memory research should encompass both the cognitive and social aspects. Distributed cognition is one such approach.

12 Distributed Cognition - Similarities to traditional memory research Both seek to understand the organisation of cognitive systems including memory. Both acknowledge a role of individuals within this framework HOWEVER …….

13 Distributed Cognition – Differences to traditional research Distributed cognition does not limit cognition to the individual. Cognition can be distributed in three ways Socially (e.g. across co-witnesses to a crime) Over time (e.g. eyewitness memory can be influenced between the event and subsequent recall e.g. at a trial). Internally-externally (e.g. memory is influenced by external features such as news reports). Hutchins (2000)

14 Methodologies used in memory research: Good control of variables Easy to Use FastGood depth of data Good use of context Accounts for inter- relationship between variables Traditional: Lab-based experiments Distributed cognition: Ethnography

15 Influence of technology on cognitive research: Brain Scanning: Allows good insight into individual brain However, cannot be used to study social distribution of cognition. Therefore it is good at studying ONE aspect of cognition. Video and audio taping: Equipment has become smaller, easier to use and less intrusive. Enables exact recording of events for later analysis. Internet: Can reinforce traditional studies (e.g. Also necessitates a distributed approach (e.g. it is an additional medium for encountering misinformation).

16 Influence of technology on everyday cognition: Advancements communications technology e.g. Internet, MSN Messenger, text messaging and wireless communication. Advancements in memory and processing aids. Wider incorporation of technology into everyday life. Norman (1993)

17 Research of the future: Traditional approaches provide a useful starting point for memory research. However, their results may be best considered as one part of a larger body of investigation. Distributed cognition has evolved from traditional memory approaches. However, some of the current methodologies associated with this framework are not suitable for all aspects of memory research.

18 Two possible Solutions: Virtual Environments: Allows utilisation of traditional experimental approaches. Enables ethnographic research to be conducted alongside traditional approaches (i.e. better control of variables but observation of natural processes). Connectionist modelling: Used to represent information at an individual level and beyond. It has controllable predictive power, if accepted as a model rather than a mirror for reality. Rogers & Scaife (1997)

19 Conclusions: Traditional memory research fails to account for important contextual variables. Distributed cognition provides an alternative, wider conceptual framework for memory research. Within this framework, traditional methodologies can be used in conjunction with developing techniques to provide a wider understanding of everyday cognition. Together, connectionist models and virtual environments can help to bridge the traditional-distributed cognition gap.

20 References: Atkinson RC and Shiffrin RM (1968) Human memory: a proposed system and its control processes. In Gardiner JM (1976) Readings in Human Memory Meuthen & Co Ltd Baddeley (2001) Human Memory; Theory and practice revised edition psychology press Bick (1999) Coghealth Accessed April Craik and Lockhart (1972) Levels of Processing: A framework for Memory Research Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour Hutchins (2000) Distributed Cognition df Accessed April Hutchins (1995) Cognition in the Wild MIT Press: Cambridge.

21 References 2: Norman (1993) Things that make us Smart Perseus Books: USA. Okado & Stark (2005) Neural activity during encoding predicts false memories created by misinformation. In Learning and Memory 12(1) pp3-11. Rogers & Scaife (1997) itionpaperRogers.htm Accessed April Shallice and Warrington (1970) Independent functioning of verbal memory stores: A neuropsychological study Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 22, Tulving (1966) Subjective organisation and effects of repetition in mulit-trial free-recall learning. In Gardiner JM (1976) Readings in Human Memory Meuthen & Co Ltd.

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