What is the main problem with getting information

Myers - Chapter 9: Memory


  • 9.1 The exploration of memory
  • 9.2 Encoding: creating memories
    • 9.2.1 Encoding and automatic processing
    • 9.2.2 Encoding and conscious processing
  • 9.3 Save: Save reminders
    • 9.3.1 Retaining information
    • 9.3.2 Amygdala, emotions and memory
    • 9.3.3 Synaptic changes
  • 9.4 Retrieve: retrieve information
    • 9.4.1 Measurement of retention performance
    • 9.4.2 Notes on retrieval
  • 9.5 Forgetting
    • 9.5.1 Forgetting and the two-pronged mind
    • 9.5.2 Encoding failure
    • 9.5.3 Memory collapse
    • 9.5.4 Failure of the request
  • 9.6 Memory building errors
    • 9.6.1 Misinformation and effects of the imagination
    • 9.6.2 Source amnesia
    • 9.6.3 Distinguishing between real and false memories
    • 9.6.4 Children's eye-witness memory
    • 9.6.5 Suppressed or Constructed Memories of Abuse
  • 9.7 memory training
  • 9.8 Chapter Review
    • 9.8.1 Questions of understanding
    • 9.8.2 Key Terms
    • 9.8.3 Further German literature


The memory phenomenon

memory is the ability to permanently retain what has been learned by storing and retrieving information. Flash memories differ from other memories by their amazing clarity.

The classic three-step model of memory by Atkinson and Shiffrin assumes that we

  1. fleeting impressions in sensory memory record some of which
  2. in the Short term memory processed on our mental screen, so to speak. A tiny part of it will then
  3. For the storage in long-term memory and encoded for possible later retrieval.

Today's memory researchers point out the limitations of this model, noting that we register some information automatically by skipping the first two stages. And they pull the term Working memory (instead of short-term memory) because it emphasizes a more active role in this second stage of processing, in which we repeat the information and manipulate it by associating new stimuli with older stored memories. The model of working memory contains visual-spatial and auditory subsystemsthat through a central executive processor coordinated that focuses our attention on something when necessary.

Encoding: transferring information to memory

The types of information we automatically encode: We encode unconsciously and automatically random information, such as room, time and frequency. With the help of this form of processing, we also register well-learned information, such as words in our mother tongue.

When we take in information from our environment (space, time, frequency, well-learned material), this happens automatic processing unconsciously. Conscious processing (Meaning, visual representation, organization) requires conscious attention and targeted efforts (repetition). The "Next-in-line" effect is that we usually forget (due to a failed encoding) what the person in front of us said in line because we focus on something we will say when our turn comes. The Spacing effect is that it is usually easier to retain information if you practice it several times over time (graded learning) than if you practice it in one long session (drumming). The serial position effect Our tendency is that in a long list (such as a shopping list) it is easier to remember the first and last items than the items in between.

The visual encoding (pictorial representations) and the auditory encoding (of sounds, especially words) are flatter forms of processing than that semantic encoding (the meaning). We process verbal information best when we semantically encode it, especially when we are aware of the Self-reference effect and make the information relevant to us.

The encoding of visual images is helpful in conscious processing, because haunting images are very memorable. We usually remember concrete nouns better than abstract ones. B. can associate both an image and a meaning with a gorilla, but only the meaning with a process. Lots Mnemonics (Memory strategies or aids) are based on visual imagination. For others, items are memorized by combining visual encoding (the idea of ​​a series of haunting images) with auditory encoding (a memorable rhyme).

We remember ordered information better than random data; Chunking and hierarchy are two ways to organize information.

  • At the Chunking we group information into familiar, easy-to-use units, such as words into sentences.
  • At Hierarchies we process information by dividing it into logical levels; we start with the most general level and move on to the most specific.

Save: keep information

The two forms of sensory memory: When information enters the memory system through the senses, we register visual images with the iconic memory, in which pictorial images last no longer than a few tenths of a second and store this information for a short time. We register and store noises with the Echo memoryin which echoes of auditory stimuli do not persist for more than 3 or 4 seconds.

The durability and working capacity of the Short term memory: At any point in time we can only focus on about 7 items of information (either new information or information recalled from memory). Without repetition, the information disappears from short-term memory within seconds and is forgotten.

The capacity and durability of the Long-term memory: The capacity for permanent storage of information in long-term memory is essentially unlimited.

Current research focuses on that memory related changes within a single neuron and between neurons. As the experience solidifies the pathways between neurons, the synapses transmit signals more efficiently. In a process that one Long term potentiation (LTP) calls, the presynaptic neurons in these pathways release neurotransmitters more quickly, and the postsynaptic neurons may form additional receptors; this increases their ability to sense the incoming neurotransmitters. LTP appears to be the neural basis for learning and memory.

Influence of stress hormones On memory: By enabling the production of extra glucose (which drives brain activity), stress hormones signal important events to the brain. The amygdala, a structure in the limbic system in which emotions are processed, stimulates areas of the brain that process emotions. These hormonal changes that are triggered by emotions can be too indelible memories to lead.

We are ours implicit (procedural) memories often unaware - of our memory of our own skills and of operant and classically conditioned reactions. These memories are partially processed by the cerebellum near the brain stem. We call ours explicit (declarative) memories - our general knowledge, special facts and personally experienced events - consciously from memory. Explicit memories are processed in various sub-regions of the hippocampus (a neural center in the brain) and passed on to other areas of the brain for storage. The implicit and the explicit memory system are independent of each other. Damage to the hippocampus can destroy the ability to consciously recall memories without destroying skills or classically conditioned responses.

Retrieval: Find information

Retrieval is the ability to retrieve information from memory without being fully aware of it; it is a query like a test, where you have to fill in the gaps in the text. Recognize is the ability to identify items that one has previously learned; like recognition in a test with multiple-choice questions. Re-learning is the ability to master previously stored information faster than you originally learned it.

Access aids are small pieces of coherent information that we encode while processing part of a piece of target information. In a way, these bits are tied to the context of the goal; and they become part of a network of stored associations. When one of these associated bits catches our attention, it is as if we were pulling a thread in the cobweb of associations and calling up the target information in our consciousness. This process, in which (often unconsciously) associations are activated, is called Priming.

The Context influences the retrieval: The context in which we originally experienced an event or encoded a thought can flood our memories with retrieval aids that lead us to remembering goals. If we find ourselves in a different context, very similar to the original one, we can to that extent a Déjà-vu experience in which many of these cues come back and lead us to unconsciously recall the target memory.

Certain states or emotions can affect us insofar as Prime as we retrieve events associated with those states or emotions. When we are in a good mood, we usually recall memories that are consistent - or congruent - with the happy state. When we are depressed, we are more likely to recall negative memories. Moods also act as prime for us in that we interpret behavior differently, in a way that is consistent with our emotions.

To forget

Without the ability to forget, we would be overwhelmed by out-of-date and irrelevant information. Our memories can make us fail

  1. by To forget (mental absence, impermanence and blocking),
  2. by distortion (Incorrect attribution, influenceability and systematic errors) and
  3. by Impose (Persistence of unwanted memories).

What we encode (through conscious or automatic processing) is only a very limited part of the sensory stimuli from our environment. And as we age, our encoding becomes slower and less efficient. Without encoding, the information does not get into our long-term memory and cannot be called up.

Concept of Memory collapse andEbbinghaus' forgetting curve. Encoded memories can fade after being saved. Based on his research on learning and retention, Ebbinghaus was able to determine that forgetting occurs quickly over time at the beginning and then slows down over time; this principle is known as the forgetting curve.

One reason the retrieval fails is because old and new information compete with each other to retrieve it. In the proactive interference Something we've learned in the past (a friend's old phone number) hinders our ability to retrieve something we've recently learned (a friend's new number). In the retroactive interference hinders something we recently learned (the vocabulary for the Spanish course this semester), something we learned in the past (the vocabulary from last year's French course).

Freud believed that we remove anxiety-inducing embarrassing thoughts, feelings, and memories from our conscious mind - this is something he calls displacement designated. In his opinion, this motivated forgetting comes up again in memories, but under the right conditions it makes them available again for later retrieval. Memory researchers tend to believe that repression rarely occurs.

Construction of memory

Memories are not stored and retrieved as exact copies of our experiences. Rather, we construct our memories using both the stored information and new information. When children or adults are exposed to subtle misinformation, they are repeatedly imagining an event that never happened. You can then keep these misleading details in your memory of what actually happened. Memory is best understood if it is understood not only as a cognitive and biological phenomenon, but also as a socio-cultural one.

When we process memories, we encode and store various aspects of them in different places in the brain. While we are reassembling a memory on retrieval, we can successfully retrieve something that we have heard, read or imagined, but assign it to the wrong source. Source amnesia is one of the two main components of false memories (the other is the Misinformation effect).

Subjectively resemble false memories true memories and are just as permanent; therefore neither the sincerity nor the longevity of a memory are an indication of whether it corresponds to reality. Real memories contain more details than those that exist only in our imagination; The latter are usually limited to the core of an event - the meaning and feelings associated with it.

An argument that the Report abuse to very young children Are reliable: Even very young children can accurately remember events (and the people who dealt with them) if a neutral person speaks to them in words they can understand, does not ask leading questions, and uses the cognitive interview method. One argument against it: pre-school children are more susceptible to suggestions than older children and adults; and you can use leading questions to influence them to report events that did not take place at all.

Psychologists who want to protect abused children and falsely accused adults usually agree on 7 points:

  1. Innocent people have been falsely convicted of abuse that never took place, and those who have genuinely committed abuse have used the revealed memory controversy to evade punishment.
  2. Incest and abuse do happen, and they can leave lasting injuries.
  3. It happens in everyday life for all of us that we forget isolated events from the past, whether they are good or bad.
  4. We all uncover good and bad memories triggered by some cue from memory, but memory researchers doubt whether we are forcibly suppressing memories in Freud's sense in order to avoid fear or pain.
  5. Memories made under the influence of hypnosis or medication are unreliable.
  6. Infantile amnesia - the inability to recall memories from the first 3 years of life - makes the detection of memories from very early childhood unlikely.
  7. Both real and false memories cause suffering and can lead to stress disorders.

Memory training

The Memory psychology offers concrete Strategies to improve memory at. This includes:

  • the planning of time intervals between the individual work sessions,
  • active repetition of the learning material,
  • Help with the encoding of ordered, pictorial associations with personal meaning,
  • Use of mnemonics,
  • Inclusion of the original learning context and mood - both rich in associations - storage of memories before they can be changed by misinformation,
  • if possible, eliminating interference,
  • Performing self-tests to review the information and find memory gaps.