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Introduction to Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Lesson 23
Memory refers to the processes by which people and other organisms encode, store, and retrieve
information. Memory is critical to humans and all other living organisms. Practically all of our daily
activities--talking, understanding, reading, and socializing--depend on our having learnt and stored
information about our environments. Memory allows us to retrieve events from the distant past or from
moments ago. It enables us to learn new skills and to form habits. Without the ability to access past
experiences or information, we would be unable to comprehend language, recognize our friends and family
members, find our way home, or even tie a shoelace. Life would be a series of disconnected experiences,
each one new and unfamiliar. Without any sort of memory, it would be impossible for humans to survive.
Philosophers, psychologists, writers, and other thinkers have long been fascinated by memory. They have
always been wondering about, and working on problems like:
·How does the brain store memories?
·Why do people remember some bits of information but not others?
·Can people improve their memories?
·What is the capacity of memory?
Memory also, frequently, is a subject of controversy because of questions about its accuracy. An
eyewitness's memory of a crime can play a crucial role in determining a suspect's guilt or innocence.
Psychologists agree that people do not always recall events as they actually happened, and sometimes people
mistakenly recall events that had never happened.
Memory and Learning are Closely Related
The two terms often describe roughly the same processes. The term learning is often used to refer to
processes involved in the initial acquisition or encoding of information, whereas the term memory more
often refers to later storage and retrieval of information. However, this distinction is not hard and fast.
After all, information is learned so that it can be retrieved later, and retrieval cannot occur unless
information was learned. Thus, psychologists often refer to the learning/memory process as a means of
incorporating all facets of encoding, storage, and retrieval.
·  Memory is usually considered as the storehouse of information alone but, as just mentioned, it
is more than just that.
·  Memory is the process of encoding, storing and retrieving information.
Woodworth defined memory as:
Memory = L - I - R
"L" is the act of "learning".
"I" is the time interval, or duration between the act of learning and remembering; and
"R" refers to the act of "remembering".
The recollection and reinstatement of the past experiences is a part of memory, in which the new
conscious experiences also are, or may be, added all the time.
Functions of Memory
i.  Encoding
ii.  Storage
iii.  Retrieval
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Encoding and Recoding
The process of initial recording of information: information is recorded in a form that is ready for use by
our memory any time.
Encoding is the process of perceiving information and bringing it into the memory system. Encoding is not
simply copying information directly from the outside world into the brain. Rather, the process is properly
conceived as recoding, or converting information from one form to another. The human visual system
provides an example of how information can change forms. Light from the outside world enters the eye in
the form of waves of electromagnetic radiation. The retina of the eye converts this radiation into
bioelectrical signals that the brain interprets as visual images. Similarly, when people encode information
into memory, they convert it from one form to another to help them remember it later.
In the storage part of the memory processes information saved in the memory is maintained in an
identifiable form.
The information recorded and stored is approached, located, brought into awareness, and used under the
memory retrieval system.
Encoding and storage are necessary to acquire and retain information. But the crucial process in
remembering is retrieval, without which we cannot access our memories. Unless we retrieve an experience,
we do not really remember it. In the broadest sense, retrieval refers to the use of stored information.
For many years, psychologists considered memory retrieval to be the deliberate recollection of facts or past
experiences. However, in the early 1980s, psychologists began to realize that people could be influenced by
past experiences without any awareness that they are remembering them. For example, a series of
experiments showed that brain-damaged amnesic patients, who had lost certain types of memory functions,
were influenced by previously viewed information even though they had no conscious memory of having
seen the information before. Based on these and other findings, psychologists now distinguish two main
classes of retrieval processes: explicit memory and implicit memory, i.e., one that is vividly remembered and
the other that is not.
The Memory Storage Systems: Memory Storehouses
i.  Sensory Memory
ii.  Short - term Memory
iii.  Long - term Memory
The Memory Storage Systems: Memory Storehouses
Long- term
These three are not separate, mutually exclusive, entities found in separate brain centers;
They differ in terms of the functions they perform and their capacity for retaining information
for a specific period of time i.e., for how long can they keep the information stored.
·  These are abstract divisions on the basis of their primary characteristics.
Sensory Memory
·  Storage of memory lasting for a while; this is the initial momentary stage.
·  Sensory memory refers to the initial, momentary recording of information in our sensory systems.
When sensations strike our eyes, they linger briefly in the visual system. This kind of sensory memory
is called iconic memory and refers to the usually brief visual persistence of information as it is being
interpreted by the visual system. Echoic memory is the name applied to the same phenomenon in the
auditory domain: the brief mental echo that persists after information has been heard. Similar systems
are assumed to exist for other sensory systems (touch, taste, and smell). However researchers have
studied these senses less thoroughly. American psychologist George Sperling demonstrated the
existence of sensory memory in an experiment in 1960.
·  The person's sensory system records information as a raw and non-meaningful stimulus: e.g., a fly
that sat on your nose in the park this morning, the sound of the car that passed by you, or the feel of
the dry leaf that landed on your head when you were waiting for the bus.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Sensory memory systems typically function outside of awareness and store information for only a
very short time. Iconic memory seems to last less than a second. Echoic memory probably lasts a bit
longer; estimates range up to three or four seconds. Usually the incoming sensory information
replaces the old information. For example, when we move our eyes, new visual input masks or erases
the first image. The information in sensory memory vanishes unless it captures our attention and
enters the working memory.
Types of Sensory Memories
i.  Iconic Memory
ii.  Echoic Memory
iii.  Memories related to other senses
Iconic Memory
The information gathered by our visual sense is reflected by the iconic memory; memory in the visual
Echoic Memory
The information coming from our auditory sense is dealt with by the echoic memory; i.e., Memory for
·  Sensory memory is short lived. Ranging from just about one second to a few seconds, its
duration depends upon the intensity of the stimulus too.
·  Iconic memory may fade in less than a second, whereas the echoic memory may last for 3-4
·  The stimuli that have a high intensity may stay for a bit longer
·  Sensory memory is like a temporary image that may vanish forever, and may be replaced by
another if it is not shifted to another processing system or memory storehouse
The representation of the world around us captured by sensory memory is relatively complete, full and
Short-term Memory/ Working Memory
·  Psychologists originally used the term short-term memory to refer to the ability to hold information in
mind over a brief period of time. As conceptions of short-term memory expanded to include more
than just the brief storage of information, psychologists created new terminology. The term working
memory is now commonly used to refer to a broader system that both stores information briefly and
allows manipulation and use of the stored information.
·  This system is higher in functioning than sensory memory, as it stores information in terms of
meaning and not just simple sensory stimulation.
·  Sensory information is meaningless and therefore discarded.
·  If it is sent to the short- term memory then a meaning is added to it.
·  Since now it is meaningful it will be retained, though for not very long.
·  Short-term memory retains information for 15 to 25 seconds, unless it is moved into the long- term
How is sensory memory transformed into short-term memory?
o  The exact process is not yet clearly known
o  There are two main theories in this regard:
a) The transformation takes place when the sensory stimulus is converted into words
b) The transformation takes place after the sensory information is converted into graphic
representations or images.
Chunking and the capacity of Short-term memory
·  The information stored in short-term memory is in the form of a single unit, comprising
several chunks.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
A chunk is an understandable or meaningful set or grouping of stimuli e.g., "001023" can be
learnt as "0 0 1 0 2 3" OR  "00 10 23".
Short-term memory can carry seven chunks at a time on average; the capacity may be two more
or two less than seven (George Miller).
Chunking is a process whereby the items to be learnt are configured by grouping them considering their
similarity, or combining them into larger patterns based upon information residing in long-term
memory, or on the basis of some other principle of organization.
For example see "111222333444"; you do not usually learn it as "11 12 22 33 34 44"; but as "111 222 333
444" Or even as: "triple one, triple two, triple three, and triple four".
No restrictions on the size of the chunks.
The Role of Rehearsal in Short-term memory
How can short-term memory be more effective, considering its limited capacity?
If the material in the short-term memory is rehearsed, or repeated, it may enter the long-term
memory; but not necessarily, not always e.g., learning someone's e-mail address, or a phone
The information may be with you just temporarily.
Several repetitions help retain information in the short-term memory but do not ensure its
admittance to long-term memory.
For transferring short-term memory information into long-term memory we need other aids and
processes like elaborative rehearsal and mnemonics.
Elaborative Rehearsal
o  A technique or process whereby the material to be learnt or remembered is elaborated upon in
order to improve encoding of information.
o  The information is organized in a manner easy to be stored or encoded.
Examples of Elaborative Rehearsal
o  Imagining a relationship that strengthens the association between material to be learnt e.g., learning
a new name by relating it to an emperor with the same name.
o  The information may be expanded to fit into an already existing logical framework e.g., learning a
car's number "2346" by considering the relationship i.e., 23 x 2 = 46
o  Making a story line also helps e.g., "foot-in-the-door" can be remembered by forming a story in
o  Forming a mental image can also be used e.g., if you forgot to make a list of toiletries to be bought
from the super market, you can simply imagine your toilet from corner to corner and see what
items are required for which point.
o  Strategies used for organizing material to be learnt in such a way that encoding and recall is
o  These are short, verbal devices that help form association between material to be learnt and
material that is familiar and is already stored in memory.
Method of loci
o  Associating names, people, or objects to be remembered with places you are familiar with e.g. you
have to learn names of six famous people. You mentally place each one in separate room of your
home. For learning you start, mentally, and enter from the main door and using the way you usually
do; you find one person in one room. The same is repeated for recall.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Ancient Greeks used this method. Loci is the plural of locus i.e., place.
Acrostic-like Mnemonic
o  Learning material by using the first letter of each word to be learnt as a cue e.g., BODMAS, or
USA, or MIS (the names of the tiny bones in the ear).
Acronym Mnemonics
o  Each letter in a word to be retained in memory represents a name or familiar piece of information
e.g., Joseph L.D can be learnt with reference to your friends Javed, Omer, Sana, Ehsan, Pasha, and
Hassan who live in Lahore's Defense.
o  Or the famous example by Zimbardo and Gerrig: Roy G.Biv can be associated with the colors in
the spectrum i.e., red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
Short-term Memory As Working Memory
·  Short-term memory is not a single system but a process that consists of a number of
·  Alan Baddeley's Theory
·  Short-term memory is a three-part working memory'.
Components of Working Memory
·  Central Executive
Coordination of material to focus on during reasoning and decision making; two sub components.
·  Visuospatial Sketch Pad
Concentrates upon visual and spatial information.
·  Phonological loop
Holds and manipulates material related to speech, words, and numbers
Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?:Theoretical perspectives of psychology
  3. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT:Biological Approach, Psychodynamic Approach
  4. PERSPECTIVE/MODEL/APPROACH:Narcosis, Chemotherapy
  5. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH/ MODEL:Psychic Determinism, Preconscious
  6. BEHAVIORAL APPROACH:Behaviorist Analysis, Basic Terminology, Basic Terminology
  8. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I):Scientific Nature of Psychology
  9. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (II):Experimental Research
  11. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Socio- Cultural Factor, The Individual and the Group
  12. NERVOUS SYSTEM (1):Biological Bases of Behavior, Terminal Buttons
  13. NERVOUS SYSTEM (2):Membranes of the Brain, Association Areas, Spinal Cord
  14. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:Pineal Gland, Pituitary Gland, Dwarfism
  15. SENSATION:The Human Eye, Cornea, Sclera, Pupil, Iris, Lens
  16. HEARING (AUDITION) AND BALANCE:The Outer Ear, Auditory Canal
  17. PERCEPTION I:Max Wertheimer, Figure and Ground, Law of Closure
  18. PERCEPTION II:Depth Perception, Relative Height, Linear Perspective
  19. ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:Electroencephalogram, Hypnosis
  20. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Problem Solving, Basic Terminology, Conditioning
  21. OPERANT CONDITIONING:Negative Rein forcer, Punishment, No reinforcement
  22. COGNITIVE APPROACH:Approach to Learning, Observational Learning
  23. MEMORY I:Functions of Memory, Encoding and Recoding, Retrieval
  24. MEMORY II:Long-Term Memory, Declarative Memory, Procedural Memory
  25. MEMORY III:Memory Disorders/Dysfunctions, Amnesia, Dementia
  26. SECONDARY/ LEARNT/ PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES:Curiosity, Need for affiliation
  27. EMOTIONS I:Defining Emotions, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  28. EMOTIONS II:Respiratory Changes, Pupillometrics, Glandular Responses
  29. COGNITION AND THINKING:Cognitive Psychology, Mental Images, Concepts
  31. PERSONALITY I:Definition of Personality, Theories of Personality
  32. PERSONALITY II:Surface traits, Source Traits, For learning theorists, Albert Bandura
  33. PERSONALITY III:Assessment of Personality, Interview, Behavioral Assessment
  34. INTELLIGENCE:The History of Measurement of Intelligence, Later Revisions
  35. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY:Plato, Aristotle, Asclepiades, In The Middle Ages
  36. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR I:Medical Perspective, Psychodynamic Perspective
  37. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR II:Hypochondriasis, Conversion Disorders, Causes include
  38. PSYCHOTHERAPY I:Psychotherapeutic Orientations, Clinical Psychologists
  39. PSYCHOTHERAPY II:Behavior Modification, Shaping, Humanistic Therapies
  40. POPULAR AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY:ABC MODEL, Factors affecting attitude change
  41. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY:Understanding Health, Observational Learning
  42. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:‘Hard’ Criteria and ‘Soft’ Criteria
  43. CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Focus of Interest, Consumer Psychologist
  44. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Some Research Findings, Arousal level
  45. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Origin and History of Forensic Psychology