Unit 7A: Cognition
Unit 7A: Cognition

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Memory Memory TEst Quick What is the last thing you can remember AKA What is your most recent memory Discuss Now try this What is the very first memory you can think of AKA What is your oldest memory Discuss ID: 541358 Download Presentation

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Unit 7A: Cognition

Memory Slide2

Memory TEst

Quick! What is the last thing you can remember? AKA What is your most recent memory? Discuss

Now try this…. What is the very first memory you can think of? AKA What is your oldest memory? Discuss

Which was harder to remember? Why?Slide3

Memory accounts for time and defines our life.

It is our memory that allows us to recognize our family, speak our language, find out way home and locate food and water. Hello! Survival!

Our memory allows us to enjoy an experience and then replay it over and over again. What is your happiest memory? Usually one of the easiest to remember. On the other hand, it also prevents us from forgetting some of our worst experiences. What is your saddest memory? Usually one of the easiest to remember.

Memory allows us to learn new skills, retain those skills and even recognize our own selves. Slide4


the persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of


Extremes of Memory – severe loss from stroke, Alzheimer's, aging,


On the other hand there are lots of extreme memory retention people. These people are able to retain 100s of random letters or numbers when only hearing them once. Recite forwards and backwards.

World Memory Championships 2014


Information Processing

So how can you remember how memory works? (Ha! See what I did there… ))

Think of memory of how a computer stores information.

A computer must 1) input information, 2) retain that information and later be able to 3) retrieve it. Our brains work in the same 3 steps:1) Encoding

the processing of information into the memory systems – for example, by extracting meaning



 the retention of encoded information over time. 3) Retrieval  the process of getting information out of memory storage. Called the



Three-Stage ModelSlide6

Our memory is a lot less literal and a lot less fragile than how a computer works. Brains are actually slower than computers, as computers can process way more tasks at a time than your brain can. We can still process many tasks over time, just not as many as a computer.

The modern model for how we remember is called Connectionism and is explained in 3 stages:

1) We first record to be remembered information as a fleeting

sensory memory

the immediate, very brief recording of sensory information in the memory system.

2) From here, we process information into a

short term memory

 activated memory that holds a few items briefly, such as the seven digits of a phone number while dialing before the information is stored or forgotten. This is your short term memory bin, where we encode through rehearsal. 3) Finally, information moves into long term memory for later retrieval. Long term memory

the relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system. Includes knowledge, skills, and experiences.Slide7

30 Second MemorySlide8

Most psychologists now use a modified model of the 3 step process.

This new model


2 new ideas about memory:1) Some memories can skip the first 2 stages of the 3 step model and go directly into long term memory. This is without conscious thought.2) Working memory

a newer understanding of short-term memory that focuses on conscious, active processing of incoming auditory and visual-spatial information, and of information retrieved from long-term memory.

We cannot possibly focus on all the information bombarding our senses at once, we only focus on attention on certain incoming stimuli, those that are novel and important. This is mixed along with long term memory in our temporary working memory. Working memory helps us to associate new and old information and solves problems. Slide9

Modified Three-stage Processing Model of MemorySlide10

Models of MemorySlide11

Encoding: Getting Information In





t confuse short term memory with a belief that things that they remember for days or week and then forget are only stored in STM. True STM only lasts about a minute or so. Memories that stay with us for longer, but not permanently, are stored in working memory.Slide12

Encoding: Getting Information in

Depending on what you are trying to remember, your brain will have to work harder. Walking down the hall to your next class. No so hard. Trying to memorize your friends new cell phone number… a little harder.

Our brain engages in parallel processing

 the processing of many aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain

s natural mode of information processing for many functions. Contrasts with the step-by-step (serial) processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving.Slide13

Due to the fact that our brain can process a few things at a time, an enormous amount of multi-tasking goes on without your conscious attention. For example, without conscious effort you

automatically process (

unconscious encoding of incidental information, such as space, time and frequency, and of well-learned information, such as word meanings


information about things such as space, time and frequency.

This applies to how


you understand words and reading. First you had to sound out letters indivudally. Once you have seen a word often you re able to read it from sight. Once you identified more and more words, you were able to read faster and faster. Try it here!.citamotua emoceb nac gnissecorp luftroffESlide15

Effortful processing

We encode and retain vast amount of information automatically, but we remember different types of information, such as the concepts from one of psychology units, only with effort and attention.

Effortful processing

encoding that requires attention and conscious effort.

So how can you boost your retention ability?


the conscious repetition of information, either to maintain it in consciousness or to encode it for storage.Also called conscious repetition. Idea from Hermann Ebbinghaus. Memorization techniques. The amount remembered depends on the amount of time spent learning. Over learning fromadditional rehearsal helps too. Rehearse material even after you think you know it. Slide16

Those who learn quickly, also forget quickly…


goes against AP ideas eh?

We retain information better over rehearsal over time. Rehearsal 

the conscious repetition of information, either to maintain it in consciousness or to encode it for storage.

Spacing Effect

the tendency for distributed study or practice to yield better long-term retention than is achieved through massed study or practice.Cramming (massed practice) can give you the idea that you know the information, but you will lose it almost immediately. Long term and repetitious studying will help you to actually know it (distributed practice). So you can cram for your psychology test, but when that information comes up again on your final… you’re screwed. Slide17


Timing plays a role in what you will remember and how well you will remember it.

Imagine that you rehearsed the information that you had to learn every night for weeks before the big exam. You had to learn lists of items for this exam. You can remember the first things on the list and the last things on the list – but you are having trouble remembering the middle items. This is because the position of an item on a list influences our memory of that item. This is called the

serial position


our tendency to recall best the last and first items in a list.


It is our tendency to remember the first and last items in a list.When you remember the items near the beginning, it is called the primacy effect. When you remember the items at the end, it is called the recency effect. When you are rehearsing lists, you have to spend extra time on the middle items.Next time you go to the grocery store without a list, see which items you remember to purchase and which items you forget. Also, see what happens the next time you are introduced to ten new people at the same time. Which names do you remember and which names do you forget? Primacy – primary –firstRecency – recent - lastSlide18

Serial Position Effect

Put your notes away!

Pull out a piece of blank paper.

Pencils down!In class show the next slide, the one with the ‘+’ on it. Tell students that the cross will be replaced with a series of words. Their task is to remember as many of the words as possible. Order is not important. When the blank slide appears at the end, give students a few minutes to write down the words. Now show the last slide. Slide19






























Did you remember ______?

A. Yes B. NoSlide36

Round 2!

Half the class on the left, half on the right.

Let’s see what side is better at this!!!!Slide37




Related to the serial position effectOccurs when information in a list is unique or strange in some way

Their unique status makes them easier to remember.Slide38

Encoding: Getting Information In

What We Encode

Levels of Processing



the encoding of picture images.



the encoding of sound, especially the sound of words.



the encoding of meaning, including the meaning of words.

Self-reference effectSlide39

Processing information is kind of like sorting through the mail, the email, and text messages that we get every day. Some of it is junk mail, some of it we need to read and remember for a short period of time and other information we need to retain for a longer period of time. To help us do this, we need to encode meaning and images, use memory tricks or techniques called mnemonic devices, and organize the information for later storage and retrieval.

Encoding Meaning

You need to make what you want to remember meaningful. This is the process of

semantic encoding

. Research has shown that if you encode information according to meaning, rather than encoding visually or acoustically, you remember the information more effectively.

A good way to add meaning to material is to use the

self-reference effect

. This means that you relate the information to your own life making it personally relevant.

The material in this course should be easy to learn and remember because it is all about behaviour and mental processes as they relate to you.Slide40

Semantic Encoding activity!

I will be handing out 2 different diagrams, one on blue paper, one on pink. When I say go, flip over you paper. Whatever you see, is what you see. I will then read a passage of a story.

Once you have heard the story, write down on a separate sheet of paper what you remember from the story.

We will then compare who remembered the story better!

Discuss the results… what happened and why? Slide41

Encoding: Getting Information In

What We EncodeSlide42

Visual encoding

Visual encoding helps us to understand why we struggle to remember things such as formulas, definitions and dates, but can easily remember where we were yesterday, who we were with, what we wore, etc.

This is because we tend to remember better in visual pictures.

Our earliest memories involve imagery 

mental pictures; a powerful aid to effortful processing, especially when combined with semantic encoding.

We tend to recall more of the high points, rather than the mundane. This is called rosy

retrospection is when the negative emotion recalled from bad events fades more rapidly than the positive emotion recalled from good events


Ex) You don’t remember the long lines and hot weather at Disney world… you remember the overall good experience. Slide43

Imagery also is the way that allow mnemonic (Greek word for memory) devices to work for memory.


memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices.

Mnemonics also work well for the peg word system. You assign a word to a number.

One is bun

Two is a shoe

Three is a tree

Four is a doorFive is a hiveSix is sticksSeven is heavenEight is a gateNine is a swineTen is a henNow just try to remember the words… not the numbers. We will try this in a second. Slide45


Loci. For this technique, mentally walk around an area familiar to you, placing items as you go. The more visually vivid the placement, the greater the likelihood of recall. For example, there is a giant eggplant in my driveway, mushrooms along the sidewalk (perhaps even with a garden gnome under one of them), a live chicken on the stoop, broccoli hanging on the front door. Once you enter your place, move around to the right or the left so you can easily follow the same path during recall. Cereal on the chair, eggs smashed on the window, pizza draped over the TV, and so on.

After providing this example, ask students to try this technique in a place familiar to them. Give them 2 to 2.5 minutes. The next click will bring up a blank slide. Give them a few minutes to write down the words they remembered. The next click shows the list and the clicker question asking how many words they recalled.Slide47








Soda pop








Potato ChipsSlide48








Dr. Pepper








Potato Chips

How many did you remember?





Less than 13Slide50

Linking. In this technique the items are linked together in a story. For example, two beer bottles are walking down the street wearing tortilla capes and tossing a grapefruit ball back and forth. A couple cauliflowers carrying a bouquet of


fries comes up to them asking if they’d like to take swim in the nearby orange juice lake. They float out on the lake in donut inner tubes.

Visual imagery is key. Remind students to picture the story as it unfolds.After providing this example, ask students to try this technique either taking off from your story left off or starting their own story. Give them 2 to 2.5 minutes. The next click will bring up a blank slide. Give them a few minutes to write down the words they remembered. The next click shows the list and the clicker question asking how many words they recalled. Slide51





French Fries

Orange Juice



Baked Beans






Ice Cream






French Fries

Orange Juice



Baked Beans






Ice Cream


How many did you remember?





Less than 13Slide54


. In this technique students must first memorize the rhyme. Each number has a rhyming image associated with it, e.g., one bun, two shoe. The image (bun, shoe,…) is the ‘


’ that the word to be remembered hangs on.1-bun, picture a bun soaking in a bowl of milk.2-shoe, picture jelly squished into a shoe.3-tree, picture hotdogs hanging on a tree.4-door, picture a door handle as a stalk of celery.

5-hive, picture bees trying to squish a watermelon into their hive.

Walk students through all 10 items, then advance to the blank slide and ask students to write down this list

in order

. Advancing the slide again shows the

pegwords and the associated grocery list.Slide55

1 – Bun

2 – Shoe

3 – Tree

4 – Door

5 – Hive

6 – Sticks

7 – Heaven

8 – Gate

9 – Wine

10 – Hen











1 – Bun

2 – Shoe

3 – Tree

4 – Door

5 – Hive

6 – Sticks

7 – Heaven

8 – Gate

9 – Wine

10 – Hen











How many did you remember?





Less than 7Slide58

1 – Bun

2 – Shoe

3 – Tree

4 – Door

5 – Hive

6 – Sticks

7 – Heaven

8 – Gate

9 – Wine

10 – Hen








Because of interference (and the lack of a need to remember it in order) a grocery list is probably not a good candidate for


. Here is the classification system in biology.Slide59

1 – Bun

2 – Shoe

3 – Tree

4 – Door

5 – Hive

6 – Sticks

7 – Heaven

8 – Gate

9 – Wine

10 – Hen









Here are the planets, starting with the one closest to the sun.Slide60

Which mnemonic technique did you like the best?




Another way Mnemonic devices are used are with


organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically


Chunking works the best when the reader can organize the information into meaningful arrangements.

Chunking tends to work better with


You make an acronym by taking the first letter of the words that you need to remember. For example, to remember the names of the Great Lakes, use the acronym HOMES – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. To remember the colours of the visual spectrum use Roy G Biv. You can make up your acronyms for any information.Slide62

Compare the rows, which is easier to remember? Why? Slide63

Sub Set of chunking


Substitution technique

Letters are used to replace numbersFor example a T may be substituted for the number 1; N for 2, M for 3 etc.

The letters may then be used to makeup words or sentences.

Example is when remembering phone numbers.

What word(s) is/are your phone number? Slide64


When people develop expertise in an area, they process information, not only in chunks, but in hierarchies composed of a few broad concepts divided and subdivided into narrower concepts and facts.

Think of a word web! Slide65

Mnemonic WizardsSlide66

Storage: Retaining information

The heart of memory is STORAGE.

Memories must be stored and retrieved to be remembered.

Sperling Memory Experiment Sperling flashed a group of letters for one-twentieth of a sec, and people could only recall half of the letters. But when signaled to recall a particular row immediatly

after the letters had disappeared, they could do so.Slide67

Sensory memory

Two Types:

Iconic Memory

 a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli; a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a few tenths of a second



test revealed that we have a fleeting photographic memory. Our visual screen clears quickly, as new images are superimposed over old ones.

Echoic Memory 

a momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; if attention is elsewhere, sounds and words can still be recalled within 3 or 4 seconds.Auditory


tend to linger for 3-4 seconds. Ex) Teacher test! Slide68

Short-term Memory


our sensory memory some information is encoded into

short-term memory. This is more permanent than sensory memory. It contains information that you are consciously aware of. Short-term memory is also called working memory

. Everything you are thinking at the current moment is held in your short-term memory. Short-term memories are temporary. If you do nothing with them they will fade in 10-30 seconds.

There are limitations to how much information we can store in short-term memory. It seems that seven plus or minus two chunks of information can be stored at a given time. The information will not fade as long as you rehearse it. Slide69

Storage: Retaining Information

Working/Short-Term Memory

Magic number Seven

Plus or minus 2

The list of magic sevens

Seven wonders of world

Seven seas

Seven deadly sins

Seven primary colors

Seven musical scale notes

Seven days of the week

Seven numbers in a phone number Slide70

Long-Term Memory



is our relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system. It stores memories without conscious effort. No one knows how long memories can be stored for. Long-term memories can be stored in three different formats:Episodic memory – This is memory of specific events stored as a sequence.

Semantic memory

– This is memory of general knowledge, stored as fact, meanings or categories.

Procedural memory

– This memory of skills and how to perform them, stored as a sequence.

FUN FACT: Clark’s Nutcracker Bird can remember over 6000 caches of seeds it had previously buried. Slide71

Storage: Retaining Information

Long-Term Memory

Unlimited nature of long-term memorySlide72

Eidetic MemorySlide73

Storing memories in the brain

“ Our memories are flexible and superimposable, a panoramic blackboard with an endless supply of chalk and erasers.” – Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine


. We know now that memories do not reside in single specific parts of our brain. (Rat in maze, parts of brain cut out, can remember how to get out).So in order to find these memories, we use the memory trace – or our desire to understand the physical basis of memory.

We can see this through synaptic changes… physically more neuron receptor sites will grow between neurons as a memory is formed. Ex.


sea slug… 20,000 nerve cells… can see when new ones growSlide74

Researchers have searched for years for the “memory trace.” LTP


Long-term potentiation

an increase in a synapse

s firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation. Believed to be a neural basis for learning and


may be the closest thing . It seems on a neuronal level, practice matters. The more we use a particular neuronal chain, the stronger the behavior associated with that chain becomes.Memory boosting drugs



Protein CREB

The protein CREB can switch genes on or off. Genes code the production of protein molecules.

With repeated neural firing a nerve cell’s genes produce synapse strengthening proteins, enabling LTP.

Boosting CREB production might lead to increased production of proteins that help reshape synapses and consolidate STM into LTM. - sea slugs, mice and fruit fliesSlide76

Storing memories in the brain

There are three types of long-term memories. They are

explicit memories,

implicit memories and flashbulb memories.Explicit memory is our memory for facts and experiences. For example, the name of the street where we live, what we had for lunch today, what we did last night. It is processed through the hippocampus of the brain


Explicit Memory

memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and

“declare.” (Also called declarative memory)Implicit memory

is our memory for skills and procedures that are retrieved without conscious recollection. Examples include how to walk, how to drive, and how to play the piano. These memories are processed through the cerebellum




retention independent of conscious recollection. (Also called


or procedural memory


If you damage your hippocampus you would be unable to form new memories for facts and experiences. You would however still remember how to do things


The most interesting type of long-term memory is the

flashbulb memory

. These are memories of significant, emotional events. It is like you take a picture of the event and put it into your memory where it stays forever.

Flashbulb memory

a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or


Ex. Where were you on September 11, 2001? Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when we landed on the moon?

How do we get information into long-term memory and how does our brain store all that information? The answers come from brain research.Slide77

Enhancing Memory

The Role of EmotionSlide78

Storing implicit and explicit memories

A memory to be enters the


, through the senses, then wends its way into the brains depths. Precisely where it goes depends on the type of information. This is illustrated dramatically by those who cannot produce new memories. People with amnesia 

loss of memory


HM is the most important patient in the history of brain science. He was an amnesiac. Researchers have collected 2401 sections of his brain. Slide79

All the amnesia videos!




Jimmy’s Story page 271Slide80

Storing memories in the brain

Research has shown that our brains build our memories like a jigsaw puzzle. It invents new pieces if some are missing. This is why some of our memories are very accurate while others are not.

Research has also shown that each memory appears to activate a specific pattern of firing in the neurons, because every memory begins as an impulse. This leaves a track at the synapses where neurons communicate with each other. With increased activity in a particular pathway, connections between the neurons strengthen, and the neurotransmitters are released more easily. This process is called

long-term potentiation.

Now that we have memories in storage how do we go about retrieving all of that valuable information? Well, we have to either recall it or recognize it


Brain and Memory

The parts of the brain involved in this are the hippocampus

a neural center that is located in the limbic system; helps process explicit memories for storage.

Found in the temporal lobe neural


and part of the brain’s limbic system.

Damage to the Hippocampus: With left hippocampus damage people have trouble remembering verbal information.With right hippocampus damage people have trouble remembering visual design and locations.Subregions are active when associating names with faces.Slide82

The Hippocampus is also involved in memories when we sleep.

Hippocampus is active during slow wave sleep. This is when memories are processed for later retrieval.

It acts as a loading dock for temporarily holding the remembered episode – smell, feel, sound, and location.

Then the memories shift to storage somewhere else. This is memory consolidation.Once stored our past experiences activate various parts of the frontal and temporal lobe.Slide83

The cerebellum is also involved in the formation of memories.

Plays a key role in forming and storing the implicit memories created by classical conditioning


Ex) Woman with amnesia saw her doctor everyday. The doctor would have to introduce himself everyday and shake the woman’s hand. One day he shook her hand with a tack in his hand, pricking her hand. The next day when the doctor went to shake the patients hand, she refused but could not explain why. Having been classically conditioned, she just wouldn’t do it.

Damage – people cannot develop certain conditioned reflexes such as the eye blinkSlide84

Storage: Retaining Information

Storing Memories in the BrainSlide85

Memory disorders

1. Alzheimer’s Disease –buildup of protein in the brain that causes neurons to die.

2. Korsakoff’s Syndrome – related to alcohol consumption. A lack of vitamin B1 – thiamine causes people to confabulate. They make up information to fill in memory gaps. They also have smaller hippocampi.


Memory Loss: A Case Study (E.P.)Slide87

Infantile Amnesia

We have an explicit – implicit memory system.

The implicit reactions and skills are learned during infancy and reach far into our future yet as adults we recall nothing (explicitly) of our first three years.Slide88

Retrieval: getting information out

The last stage in the memory model is


or getting information out of memory so that we can use it. There are two different kinds of retrieval: recall and recognition.Recall is our ability to draw information out of storage and into conscious awareness. Recall is used on tests in school in the form of fill-in-the-blank questions, short answers, and essay question.


is our ability to match a current event or fact with something already in memory. It is used on tests in school in the form of multiple choice questions and matching questions.

We are better at recognition than we are at recall.

So how do we get to the memories that we need to retrieve? Slide89


a measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learning earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test.

Recognition 

a measure of memory in which the person need only identify items previously learned, as on a multiple-choice test.

Relearning 

a measure of memory that assesses the amount of time saved when learning material for a second time.Slide90

Retrieval cues


retrieval cues

. These are events, feelings, places, or any other stimulus that is linked to a specific memory.Mnemonic devices work well for retrieval.Priming is the primary retrieval cue used. Priming

the activation, often unconsciously, of particular associations in memory


Priming is sometimes called ‘

memoryless memory’. Invisible memory without explicit remembering. Ex. If walking down a hallway, you see a poster of a missing child, you will then be unconsciously primed to interpret an ambiguous adult-child interaction as a possible kidnapping. Although you don’t consciously remember the poster, it predisposes your interpretation.

Ex. Meeting someone who remind us of someone we’ve previously met can awaken out associated feelings about the earlier person, which may transfer to the new context. Slide91


Context effects – external contexts and internal emotions influence memory



While taking notes for your psychology test in your bedroom upstairs, you realize you need to sharpen your pencil. You get up, walk downstairs and forget what you were supposed to do. Once you are back in your bedroom you remember. The context of the bedroom helps you to remember the encoded thought that you needed to sharpen your pencil.A similar contextual influence is called

déjà vu

that eerie sense that

I’ve experienced this before.” Cues from the current situation may subconsciously trigger retrieval of an earlier experience


Retrieval: Getting Information Out

Context EffectsSlide94

Retrieval Cues

After learning to move a mobile by kicking, infants had their learning reactivated most strongly when retested in the same rather than a different context (Butler & Rovee-Collier, 1989).Slide95

Memory RetrievalSlide96

Memories and moods

Events in the past may have around a specific emotion that later primes us to recall its associated events.

‘An emotion is like a library room into which we place memory records. We best retrieve those records by returning to that emotional room.’ –Gordon Bower

What we learn in one state – be it drunk or sober – may be more easily recalled when we are again in that state. Called state-dependant memory. Now don’t be thinking you can study drunk and then take your tests drunk. What people learn while intoxicated they don’t recall well in any state because alcohol disrupts storage. But they recall it slightly better when again drunk. Ex. Someone who hides money when drunk may forget the location until drunk again, Slide97

There is also Mood Dependant Memory or

Mood-Congruent Memory

the tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one’

s current good or bad mood.

This applies to that some adolescents despise or think their parents are terrible because of ‘teen angst’. They associate their mood with their parents. Later on, when the ‘angst’ levels out, they view the parents in a more positive light. Slide98


To discard the clutter of useless or out-of-date information – were you parked the car yesterday, what your old junior high locker combination was – is a good thing. We get rid of the junk to hold onto the more important or prevalent information.

So it’s actually important to know how to forget.

Pollyanna Principle - Pleasant items and events are usually processed more efficiently and accurately than less pleasant items.Slide99


Forgetting as encoding failure

Information never enters long-term memory















failure leads

to forgettingSlide100


. –

Remembers every day of her life in vivid detail. Includes all the joy and all the hurt. Slide101

The Woman Who Couldn’t ForgetSlide102

Retrieval: A Journey into Memory (7 sins)Slide103


s sevens sins of memory

3 Sins

of Forgetting

Absent-mindedness – inattention to detail leads to encoding failure (our mind is elsewhere as we lay down the car keys).

Transience – storage decay over time (after we part ways with our former classmates, unused information fades).

Blocking- inaccessibility of stored information (seeing an actor in an old movie, having the name on the tip of your tongue but experience retrieval failure – we cannot get it out). Slide104

3 Sins

of distortion

Misattribution – confusing the source of information (putting words in someone else’s mouth or remembering a dream as an actual happening).

Suggestibility – the lingering effects of misinformation (a leading question, for example in child molestation cases).

Bias – belief colored recollections (current feeling towards a friend may color out recalled initial feelings)

1 Sin

of intrusion

Persistence – unwanted memories (being haunted by images of a sexual assault). Slide105

Encoding failure

Much of what we sense, we never notice and what we fail to encode, we will never remember. Age can affect encoding efficiency. The brain area that jump into action when young adult encode new information are less responsive in older adults. This slower encoding helps explain age-related memory decline.

It’s the process of what you remember and the specifics you can get from it.

Think if it like a pattern. Slide106


Failure – which penny is the real thing? Slide107

Encoding FailureSlide109

Encoding failure – storage decay

Even after encoding something well, we sometimes later forget it.

Scientist involved most in this was Hermann

Ebbinghaus.Ebbinghaus learned more lists of nonsense syllables and measured how much he retained when relearning from each list, from 20 minutes to 30 days later. The result… the forgetting curve. The course of forgetting is initially rapid, then


off with time.

Ex. High school language courses – forget a certain amount by 3 years. But 25 years later, you still remember the amount. Slide111



Forgetting as Storage Failure


we encode the information well but we still can

’t retrieve it. The next three ways of forgetting have to do with storage failure.Misattribution – This happens when we confuse who said what and when they said it; or when we remember a dream as an actual event.


– This happens when others mislead us into thinking that we remember certain information. We will look at this idea a little later in the lesson.

Bias – This happens when our current thoughts and feelings change what we thought or felt at an earlier time.Slide113

Retrieval Failure

This type of forgetting probably accounts for most of our forgetting. You encoded the information, you stored the information, but you can

t retrieve it. The last way of forgetting has to do with retrieval failure.


– This happens when we forget unwanted memories. This is the stuff that is better left forgotten. This is often called

motivated forgetting

. It can serve as protection from anxiety or potentially distressing information.

One other reason that we often can

t retrieve information is because old information and new information compete for our attention. This is called


. There are two types of interference: retroactive interference and proactive interference.Slide114

Retrieval failure – inference

Learning some items may interfere with retrieving others, especially if the information is similar.

Ex. If one person tells you their phone number, you will probably remember it. Now if 2 more people gave you their numbers, each subsequent number is harder to remember.

Proactive Interference 

the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information

. FORWARD ACTING. Occurs when something you learned earlier disrupts your recall of something you experience later. As you collect more and more information, your mental attic never fills, but gets cluttered. Tuning out the clutter helps us focus. Sometimes forgetting is adaptive.

Retroactive Interference 

the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information

. BACKWARD ACTING. Occurs when new information makes it harder to recall something you learned earlier. It is like a second stone disrupting the waves of the first stone you threw in the water. Pg. 283 – Retrieving passwords. Slide115

Sleep plays a role Slide116

Retrieval Failure


Forgetting as InterferenceSlide118

Retrieval failure – motivated forgetting

To remember our past is often to revise it.


Repression in psychoanalytic theory, the basic defense mechanism that banishes from consciousness anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories



Memory reconstruction

When it is time to retrieve something from memory, your brain must put together all of the pieces that are stored there. Sometimes pieces of information are missing and the brain has to fill in the gaps. It does this sometimes with

false information

. Once this false information get in there, it is pretty hard to distinguish it from the true information. We believe the false information to be true. This is called the misinformation


incorporating misleading information into one

’s memory of an event.Evidence for the misinformation effect can be seen when we look at eyewitness testimony. Quite often what we remember is determined by the types of questions and the wording of the questions that we are asked. These types of questions are called leading questions. This idea put into question the reliability of eyewitness testimony. Young children are very susceptible to the misinformation effect. They can easily construct false memoriesSlide120

Bartlett’s Constructive Memory Process

Leveling: Material in the story gets simplified because the teller makes judgments about which details are important.

Sharpening: The teller also makes judgments about what information is important and highlights or overemphasizes details.

Assimilation: The teller also changes details for a better fit with his or her own background or knowledge.Slide121

Among the frailest parts of memory are their source. We may recognize someone but not remember where we recognize them from. We may dream an event and later be unsure whether it happened. Or did we hear something or see it?

Source Amnesia

attributing to the wrong source an event we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined. (Also called source misattribution.) Source amnesia, along with the misinformation effect, is at the heart of many false memories.Slide122

Creating False Memories: A Laboratory StudySlide123

Discerning True and False

Memories (


290 –

292 )



False Memory Syndrome

condition in which a person’s identity and relationships center around a false but strongly believed memory of traumatic experiencesometimes induced by well-meaning therapists

Eye witness

testimony -

Picture on left is a blended composite of happy and angry. When asked to explain why the person was either happy or angry those asked to explain an angry expression remembered an angry picture (right).Slide124

Repressed or Constructed Memories of Abuse?

Areas of agreement

Sexual abuse happens

Injustice happens

Forgetting happens

Recovered memories are incomplete

Memories before 3 years are unreliable

Hypnotic memories are unreliable

Memories can be emotionally upsettingSlide125

Improving MemorySlide126

Improve Your Memory

Study repeatedly to boost recall

Spend more time rehearsing or actively thinking about the material

Make material personally meaningful

Use mnemonic devices

associate with peg words--something already stored

make up story


Improve Your Memory

Activate retrieval cues--mentally recreate situation and mood

Recall events while they are fresh-- before you encounter misinformation

Minimize interference

Test your own knowledge


determine what you do not yet know