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Memory Notes

Psychology Notes > Developmental Psychology (2nd year) Notes

This is an extract of our Memory document, which we sell as part of our Developmental Psychology (2nd year) Notes collection written by the top tier of Durham University students.

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Memory
HISTORY OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH
Researchers need to have contextual research ie know what adult standards are to compare development to
Piaget - Stage Theory
Emphasis on qualitative changes in children's capabilities and mental operations: what they can vs cannot do at each stage
Most contemporary research takes an info processing approach: breaking down the task the child is trying to solve into its elements, understanding it as a computational problem
Emphasis on:
Quantitative changes
Task demands: check that failures in something complex are no due to something more basic eg limited memory capacity
 failed to provide context relative to adult standards = limitation

2 of Piaget's influential findings
OBJECT PERMANENCE
Children below about 8 months do not search for a hidden object
 $Out of sight, out of mind' for infants when the object is hidden it no longer exists
More recent studies show evidence that much younger infants do keep track of hidden objects, when performance demands are reduced
Measure looking behaviour instead of searching responses
Spelke, 1996
Screen acts as drawbridge
Habituated to drawbridge moving back and forth
Box placed behind screen
Possible event: box stops the drawbridge going back
Impossible event: drawbridge STILL goes back 5 m/o look longer at the impossible event
 shows they can remember the box exists even when it is not there Memory
THE 'A NOT B' ERROR (to about 10 months)
Experimenter hides object in A in front of child
Child has to fetch object  task repeated until child succeeds in looking in A
THEN experimenter hides it in B
Children often still look in A even though they saw it hidden in B
But looking time studies show that much younger infants keep track of where hidden objects are
Many alternative accounts of the AB error based on specific cognitive abilities, including memory,
inhibition, motor control

Piaget and others on early memory
Piaget (1952) - children under 18 months incapable of mentally representing objects and events, live in a
$here and now' world
Pillemer & White, 1989: $infantile amnesia'
BUT once specialised methods were developed to assess early memories, research showed infants to have similar kinds of memory abilities to adults
 suggests that the major development changes are quantitative (capacity, duration)

MEMORY
Semantic memory: all the world knowledge and facts a person possesses
Episodic memory: memory for specific events, often autobiographical

Multiple memory systems:
Dissociable in their functional properties and neural bases (from patients, imaging studies, animal studies)

Development of infant LTM
Rovee-Collier, 1999:
1st year and a half:
 Duration of memory increases
 Specificity of the cues required for recognition decrease after short test delays
 Latency of priming progressively decreases to adult level
Memory dissociations of very young infants on recognition and priming tasks are identical to adults
 suggests both memory systems are present very early in development instead of emerging hierarchically over the 1st year
Young infants can remember an event over the entire $infantile amnesia' period if periodically exposed to nonverbal reminders
The same mechanisms appear to underlie memory processing in infants and adults
Werner & Siqueland, 1978: newborns could remember a previously seen visual event over 24-hours

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