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Lecture 6 - Introduction to cognitive psychology: Memory and Attention Types and processes of memory Disorders of memory; distortions, omissions and confabulations in 'normal' and pathological memory Alzheimer's disease Definition: The creation of an internal representation, based on past experience, which affects later experience and behaviour. Memory has time spans between 1 second and a lifetime.
? There are 3 stages of memory: encoding, storage and retrieval.
? There are also a number of different types of memory: episodic memory (linked to specific events), semantic memory (for facts needed to plan and guide current behaviour), procedural memory (stored information underlying skills, mental or physical), spatial memory (information for navigation and guiding actions), working memory (material being used in current cognitive operations e.g. planning speech) and memory for contingencies (if A, then B is likely to follow - is the focus of learning processes).
? There is both a short-term (working) memory and a long-term memory. The methods of encoding, storage and retrieval differ between the two although there are obvious interconnections between the two e.g. a name must go through short term memory before it enters long term memory. The hippocampus is vital for long term but not short term memory therefore individuals with medial-temporal lobe amnesia have profound difficulty in remembering a person but can repeat their name perfectly a few seconds after being told it (i.e. working memory is fine). Short term but not long term memory difficulty is caused by lesion in other areas of the brain.
? There is also a distinction drawn between implicit and explicit memory. With explicit memory, an individual consciously recollects an event in the past whereas with implicit memory, there is a memory for skills and learned processes (that do not require explicit recall). Working (short-term) memory: even in situations where information is only remembered/is active in the conscious briefly, memory involves the three stages of encoding, storage and retrieval.
? Encoding. The presence of encoding depends very much on attention - whether attention was paid to the original stimulus in order for it to be encoded and progress into working memory. However, if attention was paid, there are two methods of encoding which may occur. Phonological coding is the process of representing information in the short term memory by the way it sounds, for example repeating a phone number over and over again in order to remember it. Visual coding is the process of storing an image in the short term memory although this type of memory is often poor (most people will verbalise what they see in order to remember it). Some individuals (mainly children) have 'photographic' memory which enables them to store highly-accurate images for up to a few minutes e.g. they can give highly-specific details about the image minutes after it has been removed.
? Storage. The capacity of working memory is almost always 7 items plus or minus 2 i.e. most adults can remember a list of between 5 and 9 items using working memory. This was tested by giving individuals sequences of numbers in rapid succession with the length of the
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