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Chapter 6


Learning Outcomes
6.1 Identify the three processes of memory and the
different models of how memory works?
6.2 Explain How does sensory memory work?
6.3 Define short-term memory, and how does it differ
from working memory?
6.4 Differentiate long-term memory from other types of
6.5 explain the various types of long-term memory, and
how is information stored in long-term memory

an active system that
1. receives information from the senses,
2. organizes and alters that information as it stores it
3. and then retrieves the information from storage
Memory has three stages or three storage system
1. Sensory
2. Short term memory (STM)
3. Long term memory (LTM)

Three processes of memory

A. encoding: the set of mental operations that people perform on sensory
to convert that information into a form that is usable in the brains storage systems
Encoding is accomplished differently in each of three different storage systems of memory.
In sensory memory system = registration
In short term memory system, encoding may involve rehearsing information over and over to
keep it in memory,
whereas in long term memory, encoding involves elaborating on the meaning of the

B. storage: holding on to information for some period of time

In system short memory, people hold on to information just long enough to work with it,
about 20seconds or so.
In long term memory, people hold on to information more or less permanently

C. retrieval: getting information that is in storage into a form that can be used
Example: MCQ test

Models of Memory

Exactly how does memory work?

Information-processing model: assumes that the processing of information for memory
storage is similar to the way a computer processes memoryin a series of three stages

and retrieval
seems to imply a sequence of events.

Parallel distributed processing (PDP) model:

memory processes are proposed to take place at the same time over a large network of
neural connections.

a simultaneous process, with the creation and storage of memories taking place
across a series of mental networks stretched across the brain

This model was developed because of findings that a system of neural

connections appeared to be distributed in a parallel array in addition to
serial pathways.

Models of Memory
Levels-of-processing model:
assumes that information that is more deeply
1. --- processed according to its meaning,
rather than just the sound or physical
characteristics of the word or words
2. will be remembered more efficiently and for a
longer period of time
Example: semantic not only Melodic or rhythmic

Figure 6.1 Three-Stage Process of Memory

Information enters through the sensory system, briefly registering in sensory memory.
Selective attention filters the information into short-term memory, where it is held while attention
(rehearsal) continues
If the information receives enough rehearsal (maintenance or elaborative), it will enter and be stored
in long-term memory.

Sensory Memory
Sensory memory: the very first stage of memory
the point at which information enters the nervous system through
the sensory systems
Think of it as a door that is open for a brief time.
Looking through the door,
one can see many people and objects,
but only some of them will actually make it through the door itself.

There are two kinds of sensory memory that have been studied
They are the iconic (visual) and echoic (hearing) sensory

Sensory Memory
Iconic memory:
visual sensory memory, lasting
only a fraction of a second

capacity: everything that

can be seen at one time

duration: information that

has just entered iconic

memory will be pushed out
very quickly by new
information, a process called


photographic memory or iconic memory;

Having a very good memory and having eidetic imagery ability are two
very different things.

Eidetic imagery: the (rare) ability to access a visual memory

over a long period of time
for thirty seconds or more

People with eidetic imagery ability might be able to look quickly at a

page in a book, then by focusing on a blank wall or piece of paper,
read the words from the image that still remains in their sensory

Echoic memory: the brief memory of something a person has just

capacity: limited to what can be heard at any one moment;
smaller than the capacity of iconic memory
duration: lasts longer than iconic; about two to four seconds

Figure 6.2 Iconic

Memory Test
Sample grid of letters for
Sperlings test of iconic
memory. To determine if
the entire grid existed in
iconic memory, Sperling
sounded a tone
associated with each row
after the grids
Participants were able to
recall the letters in the
row for which they heard
the tone.
The graph shows the
decrease in the number
of letters recalled as the
delay in presenting the
tone increased.

Short-Term Memory
Short-term memory (STM;
working memory):
the memory system in which
information is held for brief
periods of time (15-20 seconds)

while being used

selective attention: the ability to

focus on only one stimulus from
among all sensory input
In Dr. Donald E. Broadbents
original filter theory, a kind of
bottleneck occurs between
sensory memory and short-term

Short-Term Memory
Only a stimulus that is important enough
(determined by a kind of pre-analysis
accomplished by the attention centers in the
brain stem)
will be passed on to be analyzed for meaning in


Other stimuli are filtered out and will not reach

When a person is thinking actively about
information (elaboration) , that information is
said to be conscious and is also in STM.

Short-Term Memory
Digit-span test:
a series of numbers is read to subjects who
are then asked to
recall the numbers in order
Capacity: of STM is about seven items or
pieces of information, plus or minus two items
or from five to nine bits of
magical number = 72

Figure 6.3 Digit-Span

Instructions for the digitspan test:
Listen carefully as the
instructor reads each
string of numbers out
As soon as each string
is ended (the instructor
may say go),
write down the numbers
in the exact order in
which they were given.

Method of increasing capacity of STM

1. Chunking: bits of information are combined into meaningful
units, or chunks,
so that more information can be held in STM
For example, If someone were to recode the last sequence of
numbers as 654-789-3217,
instead of 10 separate bits of information, there would only
be three chunks that read like a phone number.
2. Maintenance rehearsal:
saying bits of information to be remembered
ones head

over and over in

in order to maintain it in short-term memory

(STMs tend to be encoded in auditory form)
A. STM lasts from about


12 to 30 seconds without

B. STM is susceptible to interference

e.g., if counting is interrupted, one will have to start over

Long-Term Memory
LO 6.4 Long-Term Memory

Long-term memory (LTM):

the memory system into which all the information is placed to be kept
more or less permanently

Elaborative rehearsal: a method of transferring information from STM

into LTM by making that information meaningful in some way

The easiest way to do this is to connect new information with something

that is already well known (Craik & Lockhart, 1972; Postman, 1975).

Example, the French word maison means house. A person could try
to memorize that (using maintenance rehearsal) by saying over and
Maison means house, maison means house.

But it would be much easier and more efficient if that person simply
thought, Maison sounds like masons, and masons build houses.

Types of Long-Term Memories

Long-term memory can be divided into declarative memories, which are factual /accurate
and typically conscious (explicit) memories, and Nondeclarative memories, which are
skills, habits, and conditioned responses that are typically unconscious (implicit).
Declarative memories are further divided into episodic memories (personal experiences)
and semantic memories (general knowledge).

Types of LTM
Nondeclarative or Procedural (implicit) memory:
memory for skills, procedures, habits, and conditioned
these memories are not conscious, but their existence is implied
because they affect conscious behavior
also include emotional associations, habits, and simple
conditioned reflexes that may or may not be in conscious

(implicit memory): memory that is not easily brought into

conscious awareness
The cerebellum in the hindbrain is responsible for
storage of memories of conditioned responses, skills, and habits.

Evidence that separate

areas of the brain control
procedural memory
and declarative memory
comes from studies of
people with damage

the hippocampus


area of the brain.

This damage causes them

to have anterograde
amnesia, in which new
long-term declarative
memories cannot be

Figure 6.4 Tower of Hanoi

The Tower of Hanoi is a puzzle that is solved in a series of steps by moving one disk at a time. The
goal is to move all of the disks from peg A to peg C; the rules are that a larger disk can not be moved
on top of a smaller one and a disk can not be moved if there are other disks on top of it.
Amnesia patients were able to learn the procedure for solving the puzzle but could not remember
that they knew how to solve it.

Types of LTM
Declarative (explicit) memory:
type of long-term memory
containing information that is
conscious and known
memory for general facts

declarative memory is about all

the things that people can know
the facts and information that
make up knowledge.
Example: I know what I ate for
breakfast this morning and what I
saw on the way to work, but I
dont know what you had for
breakfast or what you might have
There are two types of declarative
long-term memories, semantic
and episodic.

Declarative (Explicit) LTM

All the things that people know
Semantic memory: declarative memory
containing general knowledge
knowledge of language, information learned in
formal education
names of the planets in the solar system, that adding
2 and 2 makes 4, and that a noun is the name of a
person, place, or thing.

Episodic memory: declarative memory containing

personal information not readily available to others
daily activities and events.

Organization of Memory
LTM is organized in
terms of related
meanings and concepts
Semantic network
model: assumes that
information is stored in
the brain in a
connected fashion
concepts that are related
stored physically
closer to each other
than to unrelated

Figure 6.6 An Example of a Semantic Network

In the semantic network model of memory, concepts that are related in meaning are thought to be stored physically
near each other in the brain. In this example, canary and ostrich are stored near the concept node for bird, whereas
shark and salmon are stored near fish. But the fact that a canary is yellow is stored directly with that concept.

Learning Objectives
6.6 What kinds of cues help people remember?
6.7 How do the retrieval processes of recall and
differ, and how reliable are our memories of events?
6.8 How are long-term memories formed, and how can
this process lead to inaccuracies in memory?
6.9 What is false-memory syndrome?
6.10 Why do we forget?
6.11 How and where are memories formed in the brain?
6.12 How does amnesia occur?

Cues to Help Remember

Retrieval cue: stimulus for

Priming is an implicit memory effect in
which exposure to one stimulus
influences a response to another
One of the main reasons that
maintenance rehearsal is not a very
good way to get information into
LTM is that saying something over
and over gives only one kind of
retrieval cue (a stimulus for
remembering), the sound of the
word or phrase.
When people try to remember a
piece of information by thinking of
what it means and
how it fits in with what they already
know, they are giving themselves
cues for meaning in addition to

Cues to Help Remember

Encoding specificity:

The principle, proposed by researchers Thomson and Tulving, states that memory is most effective
when information available at encoding is also present at retrieval.

Although most people would assume that cues for retrieval would have to be directly related to the
concepts being studied,

the fact is that almost anything in ones surroundings is capable of becoming a cue. If you usually
watch a particular television show while eating peanuts,

Example, the next time you eat peanuts you might find yourself thinking of the show you were

This connection between surroundings and remembered information is called

encoding specificity.

Tendency for memory of information to be improved if related information (e.g., surroundings or

physiological state) available when the memory was first formed is also available when the
memory is being retrieved

For instance, happy memories are easier to access when happy, or bad memories are more accessible when in a
depressed mood

Recall: Memory retrieval in which the information to

be retrieved must be pulled from memory with
very few external cues

Recall, memories are retrieved with few or no

external cues, such as filling in the blanks on an
application form.

Recognition, on the other hand, involves

looking at or hearing information and matching it
to what is already in memory. (with cues)

Retrieval failure: recall has failed (at least


is the failure to retrieve a word from memory, combined with

partial recall and the feeling that retrieval is imminent.

Whenever people find themselves struggling for an answer,

recall has failed (at least temporarily).

tip of the tongue (TOT) phenomenon

Sometimes the answer seems so very close to the surface of
conscious thought that it feels like its on the tip of the


Serial position effect: information at the
beginning and the end of a body of
information more accurately remembered
than the information in the middle
primacy effect: tendency to remember
information at the beginning of a body of
information better than what follows
recency effect: tendency to remember
information at the end of a body of information
better than the information ahead of it

Figure 6.7 Serial Position Effect

In the serial position effect, information at the beginning of a list will be recalled at a higher rate than information in the
middle of the list (primacy effect), because the beginning information receives more rehearsal and may enter LTM.
Information at the end of a list is also retrieved at a higher rate (recency effect), because the end of the list is still in
STM, with no information coming after it to interfere with retrieval.

Recognition: ability to match a piece of
information or a stimulus to a stored image
or fact
False positive: error of recognition in which
people think that they recognize a stimulus
that is not actually in memory
Example : case of Witness
falsely identified by seven witnesses; another man
later confessed to the crimes

Automatic Encoding
Automatic encoding: tendency
of certain kinds of information to
enter long-term memory with little
or no effortful encoding
Example: a person might make
no effort to remember
How many people died in Sep 11
how many times cars have
passed down the street but when
asked can give an answer of
often, more than usual, or
hardly any.

Flashbulb Memories
Flashbulb memories:
automatic encoding that
occurs because an
unexpected event
has strong emotional
associations for the
person remembering it
Example: MH370 very

How LTMs Are Formed

Constructive processing: memory
retrieval process
in which memories are built,
or reconstructed, from information stored
during encoding
with each retrieval, memories may be
altered, revised, or influenced by
newer information
Example: when people, upon learning
the details of a particular event,
revise their memories to reflect their
feeling that they knew it all along.
They will discard any incorrect
information they actually had
and replace it with more accurate
information gained after the fact.

How LTMs Are Formed

Hindsight bias:
the tendency to falsely believe,
through revision of older memories to include
newer information,
that one could have correctly predicted the
outcome of an event
Example: Air Asia will crash
Monday morning quarterbacking

Forgetting: Ebbinghaus
Curve of forgetting:
a graph showing a distinct pattern in which forgetting is
very fast within the first hour after learning a list and
then tapers off (become smaller) gradually
distributed practice: spacing ones study sessions
produces better retrieval

massed practice: studying a complete body of information all at

Unfortunately, you wont remember as much of what you
studied as you would if you had shorter study times of 30
minutes to an hour followed by short breaks

Figure 6.9 Curve of Forgetting

Ebbinghaus found that his recall of nonsence words from his
memorized word lists was greatest immediately after learning the list
but rapidly decreased within the first hour. After the first hour, forgetting
leveled off.

Forgetting: Encoding Failure

LO 6.10 Why Do We Forget?

Encoding failure: failure to process

information into memory

Figure 6.9 Stop!

Many people look at stop signs multiple
times a day. Which of these stop signs is
closest to an actual stop sign?
(The answer can be found in the notes section of this

Forgetting: Memory Trace Theory

LO 6.10 Why Do We Forget?

Memory trace: physical change in the brain that

occurs when a memory is formed
decay: loss of memory due to the passage of time,
during which the memory trace is not used
disuse: another name for decay, assuming that
memories that are not used will eventually decay and
memories recalled after many years are not explained
by memory trace theory

Forgetting: Interference Theory

Proactive interference: memory retrieval
problem that occurs when older information
prevents or interferes with the retrieval of
newer information
LO Why Do We Forget?

Retroactive interference: memory

retrieval problem that occurs when newer
information prevents or interferes with the
retrieval of older information

Figure 6.10 Proactive and Retroactive Interference

If a student were to study for a French exam and then a Spanish exam, interference could occur in two
directions. When taking the Spanish exam, the French information studied first may proactively interfere
with the learning of the new Spanish information. But when taking the French exam, the more recently
studied Spanish information may retroactively interfere with the retrieval of the French information.

Formation of LTMs
LO 6.11 How and Where Memories Are Formed in the Brain

Consolidation: changes that take place in the structure and

functioning of neurons when a memory is formed
long-term potentiation: changes in number and sensitivity of
receptor sites/synapses through repeated stimulation
In neuroscience, long-term potentiation(LTP) is a persistent
strengthening of synapses based on recent patterns of activity.
These are patterns of synaptic activity that produce a longlasting increase in signal transmission between two neurons.

Hippocampus: area of brain responsible for the formation of


LO 6.12 How Does Amnesia Occur?

Retrograde amnesia: loss of memory from

the point of some injury or trauma
backwards, or loss of memory for the past
Anterograde amnesia: loss of memory
from the point of injury or trauma forward,
or the inability to form new long-term
senile dementia

Alzheimers Disease
5.3 million cases in U.S.
Primary memory difficulty in Alzheimers is
anterograde amnesia
retrograde amnesia can also occur as the
disease progresses

There are various drugs in use or in

development for use in slowing or stopping
the progression of Alzheimers disease, but
no cure.

Alzheimers Disease
Risk factors include
high cholesterol
high blood pressure
Type II diabetes
lack of exercise

LO 6.12 How Does Amnesia Occur?

Infantile amnesia: the inability to retrieve

memories from much before age three
autobiographical memory: the memory for
events and facts related to ones personal life
story (usually after age three)

Health and Memory

LO 6.13 How Do Sleep, Exercise, and Diet Affect Memory?

Sleep is important in forming memories

memories rehearsed during sleep as well as during
waking are more likely to be consolidated
one cant learn something new while sleeping, but new
information can be better consolidated while sleeping
sleep deprivation severely interferes with hippocampal
function and memory

Even brief exercise can be good for your memory

Fish is brain food?
omega-3 fatty acid called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
appears to help memory cells communicate