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COGNITION Chapter 7 Memory

The mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge. Literal: “to know.”
Take a yearning for pizza for example…
Cognition encompasses everything from knowing/remembering what pizza is (and that you like it)…to realizing that you are hungry and making plans to have it delivered.

• For minds to make sense of the near infinite details of our surroundings a large part of cognition involves the organization of our thoughts into associations or categories. • These range from “things one might find in a kitchen” to “what toppings I like”. • Simple symbols such as the word “food” are used to group more complex learned associations such as those between New York Style, Chicago Style, Frozen Pizza, Pizza Rolls. • Although important, these cognitive categories are overlapping and not always clearly distinct

Perception, attention, memory & executive function are one way of divvying up thinking process.

Perception - the fact that you feel hungry and that there is no food in the fridge, is what gets the whole process moving. It involves seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and or smelling your surroundings, allowing you to respond appropriately. Memory - stores the name of your favorite pizza parlor. Enables you to dial the number & give directions to your house. Includes
– short term/working memory, – long-term memory & – subconscious/implicit knowledge.

Executive Function enables the planning of logistics, such as timing the pizza delivery to coincide with the start of the football game. Improvising - guessing what toppings everyone will enjoy Problem Solving figuring how much to tip Controlling Impulses - not ruining your appetite by eating a whole bag of Doritos while waiting also come into play here. Attention processes kick in by having you shift your focus from reading Weiten’s Psychology Themes and Variations, 5th edition to answering the door upon hearing that long awaited knock. They also help in multi-tasking a slice of pizza with figuring out how your football team can come back from an embarrassing early deficit while ignoring the heckling antics of your so called “friends.” It is the interplay of all of these systems working simultaneously which makes up the process of cognition; allowing us to adapt to our surroundings & take action towards obtaining our goals.

Name the 7 Dwarfs

Was this difficult for you?
It depends on what factors?

Whether you like Disney movies. How long ago you watched the movie. How loud or distracting the people are around you when you are trying to remember.

How Does Memory Work?

encoding, storage, & retrieval In short, these are the processes by which we get info in (encoding), hang on to it (storage), and get it back out (retrieval).

• Information from the environment is encoded when it enters the body through the senses. • 3 primary ways visual, acoustic, & semantic encoding. Visual is most effective, but the most successful way is to encode in all three ways. This would be like the computer taking input from a keyboard, mouse or touch screen smart phone or tablet.


The typical brain has about 100 trillion synapses, which are the points where nerve cells in the human brain connect with other cells.

• Involves previously mentioned sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. • STM has a limit not only on the number of items it can hold but also on duration (20 seconds or so). AKA - Working Memory. • Use of rehearsal helps to increase the likelihood that those memories will be recalled. • LTM is divided into explicit (knowing facts) and implicit memories (remembering how to move your body when walking).

Flashbulb Memory

A clear moment of an emotionally or historically significant moment or event.
Where were you when? 1. You heard about 9/11 2. Hurricane Ike (2008)

3. Death of a close friend or family member.
Studies have shown that, although people believe such memories are more complete and accurate, they are actually just as flawed as those stored in less emotional situations.

• Key to accessing information from LTM is to have an appropriate retrieval cue. • Mnemonics is a memory aid that relies on reorganization of information for easy retrieval. (Song to know information for a test) • Encoding Specificity or Transfer Appropriate Processing: Retrieval is better when the context in which we are trying to retrieve something matches the context in which it was learned. • The context is part of the overall memory. By reinstating that context when retrieval is occurring, we are creating an optimal recall situation.


Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; All the rest have thirty-one, Save February, with twenty-eight days cle And twenty-nine each leap year.

Capacity of STM – Short Term Memory

Learning the sounds and meanings of new words, or seeing pictures while a storyteller tells a tale. If we want to remember large amounts of information, our recall will be easier if we can use chunking to group information together. Learning the sounds and meanings of new words, or seeing pictures while a storyteller tells a tale.

The Magic Number 7 digits, plus or minus 2. Chunking storage in STM If we want to remember large amounts of information, our recall will be easier if we can use chunking to group information together. Remembering a 10-digit phone number is much easier if we remember the pattern 3-3-4 rather than trying to recall 10 unconnected numbers.

You only have 150 “Friends”
• Dunbar's number is suggested to be a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships = 150. • Our memories can keep track of groups about this size. Beyond it our interactions become more anonymous. • Past a group size of 150 we start needing formal organizational structures to handle interactions. • Further, the group we consider "friends and family" clusters around this size.

2 biggest assumptions of long term memory:
1. capacity is unlimited, and 2. once the information gets into long-term memory, it is there forever. 3. Nodes/Links: Activation is the process of "thinking" about a concept. When we activate a node, that activation spreads down the links to related nodes.
Recently, psychologists have divided memory into explicit and implicit memory.

Explicit memory - memory for information that you are aware of. Implicit memory - memory that influences your behavior but for which you have no conscious awareness.

Turn to a blank sheet of paper. Pick out the names of the 7 dwarfs.

Grouchy Gabby Fearful Sleepy Smiley Jumpy Hopeful Shy Droopy Dopey Spiffy Wishful Puffy Dumpy Sneezy Pop Grumpy Bashful Cheerful Teach Sporty Nifty Happy Doc Wheezy Stubby Poppy

How many did you remember this time?

Did you do better on the first or second dwarf memory exercise?

Recall vs. Recognition: • With recall - you must retrieve the information from your memory (fill-inthe blank tests). • With recognition - you must identify the target from possible targets (multiple-choice tests). • Which is easier?

Can you identify the “real” penny? We tend to have poor memory for things that don’t matter, even if we see them frequently.

How did you do?
Its obverse has featured the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of his birth. From 1959 (the sesquicentennial of Lincoln's birth) to 2008, the reverse featured the Lincoln Memorial. Four different reverse designs in 2009 honored Lincoln's 200th birthday and a new, permanent reverse - the Union Shield - was introduced in 2010. The coin is 0.75 inches (19.05 mm) in diameter and 0.061 inches (1.55 mm) in thickness. The U.S. Mint's official name for a penny is "cent“ and the U.S. Treasury's official name is "one cent piece". The colloquial term "penny" derives from the British coin of the same name; however, the British plural form pence is never used. As of 2010, it cost the U.S. Mint 1.79 cents to make a cent because of the cost of materials and production.