Chapter 6 MEMORY INFORMATION PROCESSING MODEL (Atkinson and Shiffron) In the 1950's, information theorists Newell and Simon

began to compare the human mind to the "electric brain (computer)". Both mind and computer have a finite capacity for storing, retrieving, and analyzing information. Each system also consists of HARDWARE & SOFTWARE. Computer's hardware includes keyboard, monitor, mother board, etc. The computer's software includes programs (whether on cd or hard drive) that tell the machine how to organize, retrieve, and operate on the information it receives. The mind's physical machinery or hardware consists of brain, CNS, and sensory receptors. For software, the mind relies on rules, plans, motives, and intentions that affect the ways information is registered, interpreted, stored, retrieved, and analyzed. Information theorists suggest that as the brain and nervous system mature (hardware) and children adopt new strategies for attending to stimuli, interpret the new stimuli and remember what they have experienced (software), they should become much more proficient at acting on information to solve important problems. Model According to Atkinson and Shiffron, information can pass through three stores or types of memory. 1. Information from the environment is detected and first passes through the sensory store. This memory represents the system log on unit; it simply holds raw sensory input for a very brief period of time (perhaps less than 1 - 3 seconds) as a kind of after image of what has been sensed. Inoformation entered into the sensory store will soon disappear if we do nothing with it. 2. If we attend to the information, it will pass into short term memory (STM). STM is a processing unit that can store a limited amount of information (5 - 9 units or 7+/-2 units) for several seconds (up to 30 seconds). The short term memory capacity is sufficient to let you remember a phone number long enough to dial it. If you do nothing with this information, again it will be lost shortly. STM is sometimes called working memory because all conscious intellectual activity is thought to take place here. STM has two functions: a. store information temporarily b. work with or manipulate the information 3.Finally new information that is operated on while in STM can pass into long term memory (LTM): a vast and relatively permanent storehouse of information that includes our knowledge of the world. Examplesof LTMs include the first President of the US and the capitol of Ohio (semantic memory), our impressions of past experiences and personal events, such as a first kiss, getting our driver's license, our wedding day (episodic memories ), skills, such as riding a bike or brushing one's teeth (procedural memories), and the strategies that we use to process information and solve problems. Information does not simply "flow" on its own through the various stores, or processing units, of the system; instead we actively channel this input and make it flow. This channeling of information is influenced by executive control processes (processes involved in planning and monitoring what we attend to and what we do with our knowledge). The executive processes by which we gather, store, retrieve, and operate on information are thought to be largely under voluntary control and are what most clearly distinguish the brain from the computer. Humans must initialize, organize, and monitor their own cognitive processes. We decide what to attend

to, we select our own strategies for retaining and retrieving information, we chose the problems to solve. One important implication of this information-processing model is that many factors other than a lack of the necessary logic (cognitive structures) might account for a person’s failure to solve a problem. 1. The person may not be attending to the information, 2. The person may lack the strategies to transfer information from store to store, 3. The person may not have retained the critical rules for solving the problem, 4. The person may lack the executive control processes that would enable successful conclusions. MEMORY PROCESSES: Once we have attended to information of some kind, we must find a way to remember it if we are to learn from our experiences or use this input to solve a problem. MEMORY is a term used to describe the processes by which people retain information and then retrieve it for use at at later time. Investigators who study memory distinguish between RECALL & RECOGNITION. RECOGNITION MEMORY occurs when we encounter some information and realize that we have seen or experienced it before. RECALL MEMORY requires us to retrieve a piece of information that is not currently being presented. RECOGNITION is much easier than RECALL; RECOGNITION is present at birth and steadily improves during the first year of life. Two types of memory strategies exist: ENCODING AND RETRIEVAL Encoding strategies involve identifying the most important features of the environment and then forming an internal representation of them. These encoding strategies would be the strategies that we use to store information in memory. Retrieval strategies help pull information out of LTM for the task at hand. ENCODING STRATEGIES: 1. REHEARSAL is a basic strategy that is used commonly by children and adults. Rehearsal involves repeating the information over and over again. 2. SEMANTIC ORGANIZATION: strategy for remembering that involves grouping or classifying stimuli into meaningful clusters that are easier to retain for future recall: List 1: boat, match, hammer, coat, grass, sentence, pencil, dog, cup, picture List 2: knife, shirt, car, fork, boat, pants, sock, truck, spoon, plate Both lists would be difficult to store but LIST 2 would be EASIER because it can be grouped into three semantic categories (eating utensils, clothes, vehicles) that can serve as cues for storage and retrieval. 3. ELABORATION involves adding something to or creating meaningful links between two bits of information that one is trying to remember. This strategy is rarely seen before adolescence. This time period corresponds to a time when students are trying to learn a foreign language. For example, when trying to remember the Spanish word for duck (PATO <pot-o>) you can create an elaborative image of a duck in a pot for dinner. Why does this strategy develop later in adolescence: 1. When we are younger, we have limited STM capacity, so we can't bring all of the appropriate information for the elaboration from LTM to STM;

2. Adolescents may know more about the world, so they are able to imagine how two stimuli can be connected. The above strategies have been described in terms of storage processes (encoding), but at the same time they can be used for retrieval. To use the strategies for retrieval, one must use CUES in order to retrieve the information from LTM. Other retrieval cues: 1. priming - You can think of a memory held in storage by a web of associations. To retrieve a specific memory, you first need to identify one of the strands that leads to it, a process called priming. Often our brains prime (activate) associations without our awareness. For example, hearing or seeing the word rabbit can unconsciously prime people to spell the spoken word hair as h-a-r-e. The word rabbit primes associations with hare even though we may not recall having heard rabbit. 2. context effects - Encoding specificity principle, which outlines that retrieval of information is best if we encode/store the information in the same environment in which we retrieve it, can help us with retrieval. Test scores would be slightly higher if one studied in the classroom in which the test was going to be taken; a person's memory of an accident would be better if that person was taken back to the scene of the accident. 3. moods - Mood-congruent memories help understand retrieval effects. We are likely to recall memories that are similar to our current mood (ie., if I am happy and you ask me about my childhood, I will recall more pleasant memories; if I am depressed and in therapy and my therapist asks me about my childhood, I am likely to recall sad or unpleasant memories).

Depth (level) of processing
Depth of processingcan also add to our knowledge of memory. According to this theory, we are more likely to remember information that was processed at a deeper level. If we make the information meaningful or connect it to our own lives, we are more likely to recall the information at a later date. This strategy promotes effective retrieval of terms and theories in psychology. If you make the information that you are studying more meaningful or tie to your real life events (deep processing), you are more likely to remember these terms than if you are just memorizing definitions of terms (shallow processing). FORGETTING ... AS A RETRIEVAL FAILURE 1. Interference a. proactive interference - the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information. For example, in January many of us dated material with last year's date/year rather than the current date/year (old information impaired memory for new information). We have difficulty retrieving the new information if experiencing this type of interference. b. retroactive interference - disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information. For example, you have moved and you no longer remember your old address because your new address interferes with that information (new information impairs memory for the old information). We have difficulty retrieving the old information if experiencing this type of interference. 2. Amnesia a. motivated forgetting -repression (Freud's terminology) - burying information in our unconscious

minds; we have been traumatized in some way and cannot currently cope with the situation or memory, so the memories become buried in our unconscious minds b. Retrograde amnesia - loss of old information (ie., a person was in a car accident and no longer remember where he/she lived; forgetting the first 13 years of one's life) c. Anterograde amnesia - no longer able to store new information (ie., one was in a car accident, and while in the hospital the same nurse entered the person's room every hour. Each hour the person thought that it was the first time that he/she had seen the nurse) d. Infantile amnesia - not being able to remember anything prior to age 4 years. Most people do not have vivid memories of times when they were real young (ie., taking a first step, saying "Mom" for the first time). Different theories hypothesize this early memory loss: the storage strategies are not sophisticated enough to store the memories in a way tha they can effectively be retrieved (cognitive approach), the neural networks that contained such memories were not strongly connected, the neural networks representing these memories were pruned.